216 SCRA 51



Someone  who  identified  herself  to  be  Fernando  called  up BPI,  requesting for  the  pre-termination  of  her  money  market  placement  with  the  bank.  The person who took the call didn't bother to verify with Fernando’s office if whether  or  not  she  really  intended  to  preterminate  her  money  market
placement.  Instead, he relied on the verification stated by the caller.  He proceeded  with  the  processing  of  the  termination.    Thereafter,  the  caller gave  delivery  instructions  that  instead  of  delivering  the  checks  to  her office, it would be picked up by her niece and it indeed happen as such.  It was  found  out  later  on  that  the  person  impersonated  Fernando  and  her alleged  niece  in  getting  the  checks.    The  dispatcher  also  didn't  bother  to get the promissory note evincing the placement when he gave the checks to  the  impersonated  niece.    This  was  aggravated  by  the  fact  that  this impersonator opened an account with the bank and deposited the subject checks.  It then withdrew the amounts.
The day of the maturity of the money market placement happened and the real  Fernando  surfaced  herself.    She  denied  preterminating  the  money market placements and though she was the payee of the checks in issue, she  didn't  receive  any  of  its  proceeds.    This  prompted  the  bank  to
surrender  to  CBC  the  checks  and  asking  for  reimbursement  on  alleged forgery of payee’s indorsements.   


The  general  rule  shall  apply  in  this  case.    Since  the payee’s  indorsement has   been   forged,   the   instrument   is   wholly   inoperative.      However, underlying circumstances of the case show that the general rule on forgery isn’t applicable.  The issue as to who between the parties should bear the
loss in the payment of the forged checks necessitates the determination of the  rights  and  liabilities  of  the  parties  involved  in  the  controversy  in relation to the forged checks.   
The acts of the employees of BPI were tainted with more negligence if not criminal than the acts of CBC.  First, the act of disclosing information about the money market placement over the phone is a violation of the General Banking  Law.    Second,  there  was  failure  on  the  bank’s  part  to  even compare the signatures during the termination of the placement, opening of  a  new  account  with  the  specimen  signature  in  file  of  Fernando.    And third,  there  was  failure  to  ask  the  surrender  of  the  promissory  note evidencing the placement.   
The  acts  of  BPI  employees  was  the  proximate  cause  to  the  loss.  Nevertheless, the negligence of the employees of CBC should be taken also into consideration.  They closed their eyes to the suspicious large amount withdrawals made over the counter as well as the opening of the account.