BPI V. CA
216 SCRA 51
FACTS: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.
HELD: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.