METROBANK V. CABLIZO
510 SCRA 259
Cablizo maintained an account with petitioner. It drew a check payable to cash payable to a certain Marquez, for the latter’s sales commission. The check was subsequently deposited in Westmont bank and the latter submitted it with Metrobank for clearing. The check was cleared.
Thereafter, the bank’s representative asked Cablizo if he issued a check for P91,000. The answer was in the negative. This prompted Cablizo to call Metrobank and ask for the recrediting of P90,000 but petitioner failed to recredit the amount prompting Cablizo to file an action against it.
An alteration is said to be material if it alters the effect of the instrument. It means an unauthorized change in the instrument that purports to modify in any respect the obligation of a party or an unauthorized addition of words or numbers or other change to an incomplete instrument relating to the obligation of the party. In other words, a material alteration is one which changes the items which are required to be stated under Section 1 of the NIL.
The check in issue was materially altered when its amount was increased from P1000 to P91000. Cablizo was not the one who authorized or made such increase. There is no showing that he was negligent in exercising what was due in a prudent man which could have otherwise prevented the
loss. Cablizo was never remiss in the preparation and issuance of the check.
The doctrine of equitable estoppel is inapplicable against Cablizo. This doctrine states that when one of the two innocent person, each guiltiness of an intentional or moral wrong, must suffer a loss, it must be borne by the one whose erroneous conduct, either by omission or commission, was the cause of the injury. Negligence is never presumed.
Metrobank was actually the one remiss in its duties. The CA took into consideration that the alterations were actually visible in the eye and yet the bank allowed someone not acquainted with the examination of checks to do the same. Furthermore, it cannot rely on the indorsement of
Westmont Bank of the check. It should have exercised meticulous care in handling the affairs of its clients especially if the client’s money is involved.