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G.R. No. 89252 May 24, 1993 RAUL SESBREO, petitioner, vs.HON.

COURT OF APPEALS, DELTA MOTORS CORPORATION AND PILIPINAS BANK, respondents. FELICIANO, J.: On 9 February 1981, petitioner Raul Sesbreo made a money market placement in the amount of P300,000.00 with the Philippine Underwriters Finance Corporation ("Philfinance"), Cebu Branch; the placement, with a term of thirty-two (32) days, would mature on 13 March 1981, Philfinance, also on 9 February 1981, issued the following documents to petitioner: (a) the Certificate of Confirmation of Sale, "without recourse," No. 20496 of one (1) Delta Motors Corporation Promissory Note ("DMC PN") No. 2731 for a term of 32 days at 17.0% per annum; (b) the Certificate of securities Delivery Receipt No. 16587 indicating the sale of DMC PN No. 2731 to petitioner, with the notation that the said security was in custodianship of Pilipinas Bank, as per Denominated Custodian Receipt ("DCR") No. 10805 dated 9 February 1981; and (c) post-dated checks payable on 13 March 1981 (i.e., the maturity date of petitioner's investment), with petitioner as payee, Philfinance as drawer, and Insular Bank of Asia and America as drawee, in the total amount of P304,533.33. On 13 March 1981, petitioner sought to encash the postdated checks issued by Philfinance. However, the checks were dishonored for having been drawn against insufficient funds. On 26 March 1981, Philfinance delivered to petitioner the DCR No. 10805 issued by private respondent Pilipinas Bank ("Pilipinas"). It reads as follows: PILIPINAS BANKMakati Stock Exchange Bldg.,Ayala Avenue, Makati,Metro Manila February 9, 1981VALUE DATE TO Raul Sesbreo April 6, 1981MATURITY DATE NO. 10805 DENOMINATED CUSTODIAN RECEIPT This confirms that as a duly Custodian Bank, and upon instruction of PHILIPPINE UNDERWRITES FINANCE CORPORATION, we have in our custody the following securities to you [sic] the extent herein indicated. SERIAL MAT. FACE ISSUED REGISTERED AMOUNTNUMBER DATE VALUE BY HOLDER PAYEE 2731 4-6-81 2,300,833.34 DMC PHIL. 307,933.33UNDERWRITERSFINANCE CORP. We further certify that these securities may be inspected by you or your duly authorized representative at any time during regular banking hours. Upon your written instructions we shall undertake physical delivery of the above securities fully assigned to you should this Denominated Custodianship Receipt remain outstanding in your favor thirty (30) days after its maturity. PILIPINAS BANK(By Elizabeth De VillaIllegible Signature) 1 On 2 April 1981, petitioner approached Ms. Elizabeth de Villa of private respondent Pilipinas, Makati Branch, and handed her a demand letter informing the bank that his placement with Philfinance in the amount reflected in the DCR No. 10805 had remained unpaid and outstanding, and that he in effect was asking for the physical delivery of the underlying promissory note. Petitioner then examined the original of the DMC PN No. 2731 and found: that the security had been issued on 10 April 1980; that it would mature on 6 April 1981; that it had a face value of P2,300,833.33, with the Philfinance as "payee" and private respondent Delta Motors Corporation ("Delta") as "maker;" and that on face of the promissory note was stamped "NON NEGOTIABLE." Pilipinas did not deliver the Note, nor any certificate of participation in respect thereof, to petitioner. Petitioner later made similar demand letters, dated 3 July 1981 and 3 August 1981, 2 again asking private respondent Pilipinas for physical delivery of the original of DMC PN No. 2731. Pilipinas allegedly referred all of petitioner's demand letters to Philfinance for written instructions, as has been supposedly agreed upon in "Securities Custodianship Agreement" between Pilipinas and Philfinance. Philfinance did not provide the appropriate instructions; Pilipinas

never released DMC PN No. 2731, nor any other instrument in respect thereof, to petitioner. Petitioner also made a written demand on 14 July 1981 3 upon private respondent Delta for the partial satisfaction of DMC PN No. 2731, explaining that Philfinance, as payee thereof, had assigned to him said Note to the extent of P307,933.33. Delta, however, denied any liability to petitioner on the promissory note, and explained in turn that it had previously agreed with Philfinance to offset its DMC PN No. 2731 (along with DMC PN No. 2730) against Philfinance PN No. 143-A issued in favor of Delta. In the meantime, Philfinance, on 18 June 1981, was placed under the joint management of the Securities and exchange commission ("SEC") and the Central Bank. Pilipinas delivered to the SEC DMC PN No. 2731, which to date apparently remains in the custody of the SEC. 4 As petitioner had failed to collect his investment and interest thereon, he filed on 28 September 1982 an action for damages with the Regional Trial Court ("RTC") of Cebu City, Branch 21, against private respondents Delta and Pilipinas. 5 The trial court, in a decision dated 5 August 1987, dismissed the complaint and counterclaims for lack of merit and for lack of cause of action, with costs against petitioner. Petitioner appealed to respondent Court of Appeals in C.A.-G.R. CV No. 15195. In a Decision dated 21 March 1989, the Court of Appeals denied the appeal and held: 6 Be that as it may, from the evidence on record, if there is anyone that appears liable for the travails of plaintiff-appellant, it is Philfinance. As correctly observed by the trial court: This act of Philfinance in accepting the investment of plaintiff and charging it against DMC PN No. 2731 when its entire face value was already obligated or earmarked for set-off or compensation is difficult to comprehend and may have been motivated with bad faith. Philfinance, therefore, is solely and legally obligated to return the investment of plaintiff, together with its earnings, and to answer all the damages plaintiff has suffered incident thereto. Unfortunately for plaintiff, Philfinance was not impleaded as one of the defendants in this case at bar; hence, this Court is without jurisdiction to pronounce judgement against it. (p. 11, Decision) WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the decision appealed from, the same is hereby affirmed in toto. Cost against plaintiff-appellant. Petitioner moved for reconsideration of the above Decision, without success. Hence, this Petition for Review on Certiorari. After consideration of the allegations contained and issues raised in the pleadings, the Court resolved to give due course to the petition and required the parties to file their respective memoranda. 7 Petitioner reiterates the assignment of errors he directed at the trial court decision, and contends that respondent court of Appeals gravely erred: (i) in concluding that he cannot recover from private respondent Delta his assigned portion of DMC PN No. 2731; (ii) in failing to hold private respondent Pilipinas solidarily liable on the DMC PN No. 2731 in view of the provisions stipulated in DCR No. 10805 issued in favor r of petitioner, and (iii) in refusing to pierce the veil of corporate entity between Philfinance, and private respondents Delta and Pilipinas, considering that the three (3) entities belong to the "Silverio Group of Companies" under the leadership of Mr. Ricardo Silverio, Sr. 8 There are at least two (2) sets of relationships which we need to address: firstly, the relationship of petitioner vis-a-vis Delta; secondly, the relationship of petitioner in respect of Pilipinas. Actually, of course, there is a third relationship that is of critical importance: the relationship of petitioner and Philfinance. However, since Philfinance has not been impleaded in this case, neither the trial court nor the Court of Appeals acquired jurisdiction over the person of Philfinance. It is, consequently, not necessary for present purposes to deal with this third relationship, except to the extent it necessarily impinges upon or intersects the first and second relationships. I. We consider first the relationship between petitioner and Delta. The Court of appeals in effect held that petitioner acquired no rights vis-a-vis Delta in respect of the Delta promissory note (DMC PN No. 2731) which Philfinance sold "without recourse" to petitioner, to the extent of P304,533.33. The Court of Appeals said on this point: Nor could plaintiff-appellant have acquired any right over DMC PN No. 2731 as the same is "non-negotiable" as stamped on its face (Exhibit "6"), negotiation being defined as the transfer of an instrument from one person to another so

as to constitute the transferee the holder of the instrument (Sec. 30, Negotiable Instruments Law). A person not a holder cannot sue on the instrument in his own name and cannot demand or receive payment (Section 51, id.) 9 Petitioner admits that DMC PN No. 2731 was non-negotiable but contends that the Note had been validly transferred, in part to him by assignment and that as a result of such transfer, Delta as debtor-maker of the Note, was obligated to pay petitioner the portion of that Note assigned to him by the payee Philfinance. Delta, however, disputes petitioner's contention and argues: (1) that DMC PN No. 2731 was not intended to be negotiated or otherwise transferred by Philfinance as manifested by the word "non-negotiable" stamp across the face of the Note 10 and because maker Delta and payee Philfinance intended that this Note would be offset against the outstanding obligation of Philfinance represented by Philfinance PN No. 143-A issued to Delta as payee; (2) that the assignment of DMC PN No. 2731 by Philfinance was without Delta's consent, if not against its instructions; and (3) assuming (arguendo only) that the partial assignment in favor of petitioner was valid, petitioner took the Note subject to the defenses available to Delta, in particular, the offsetting of DMC PN No. 2731 against Philfinance PN No. 143-A. 11 We consider Delta's arguments seriatim. Firstly, it is important to bear in mind that the negotiation of a negotiable instrument must be distinguished from the assignment or transfer of an instrument whether that be negotiable or non-negotiable. Only an instrument qualifying as a negotiable instrument under the relevant statute may be negotiated either by indorsement thereof coupled with delivery, or by delivery alone where the negotiable instrument is in bearer form. A negotiable instrument may, however, instead of being negotiated, also be assigned or transferred. The legal consequences of negotiation as distinguished from assignment of a negotiable instrument are, of course, different. A nonnegotiable instrument may, obviously, not be negotiated; but it may be assigned or transferred, absent an express prohibition against assignment or transfer written in the face of the instrument: The words "not negotiable," stamped on the face of the bill of lading, did not destroy its assignability, but the sole effect was to exempt the bill from the statutory provisions relative thereto, and a bill, though not negotiable, may be transferred by assignment; the assignee taking subject to the equities between the original parties. 12 (Emphasis added) DMC PN No. 2731, while marked "non-negotiable," was not at the same time stamped "non-transferable" or "non-assignable." It contained no stipulation which prohibited Philfinance from assigning or transferring, in whole or in part, that Note. Delta adduced the "Letter of Agreement" which it had entered into with Philfinance and which should be quoted in full: April 10, 1980 Philippine Underwriters Finance Corp.Benavidez St., Makati,Metro Manila. Attention: Mr. Alfredo O. BanariaSVP-Treasurer GENTLEMEN: This refers to our outstanding placement of P4,601,666.67 as evidenced by your Promissory Note No. 143-A, dated April 10, 1980, to mature on April 6, 1981. As agreed upon, we enclose our non-negotiable Promissory Note No. 2730 and 2731 for P2,000,000.00 each, dated April 10, 1980, to be offsetted [sic] against your PN No. 143-A upon co-terminal maturity. Please deliver the proceeds of our PNs to our representative, Mr. Eric Castillo. Very Truly Yours, (Sgd.)Florencio B. BiaganSenior Vice President 13 We find nothing in his "Letter of Agreement" which can be reasonably construed as a prohibition upon Philfinance assigning or transferring all or part of DMC PN No. 2731, before the maturity thereof. It is scarcely necessary to add that, even had this "Letter of Agreement" set forth an explicit prohibition of transfer upon Philfinance, such a prohibition cannot be invoked against an assignee or transferee of the Note who parted with valuable consideration in good faith and without notice of such prohibition. It is not disputed that

petitioner was such an assignee or transferee. Our conclusion on this point is reinforced by the fact that what Philfinance and Delta were doing by their exchange of their promissory notes was this: Delta invested, by making a money market placement with Philfinance, approximately P4,600,000.00 on 10 April 1980; but promptly, on the same day, borrowed back the bulk of that placement, i.e., P4,000,000.00, by issuing its two (2) promissory notes: DMC PN No. 2730 and DMC PN No. 2731, both also dated 10 April 1980. Thus, Philfinance was left with not P4,600,000.00 but only P600,000.00 in cash and the two (2) Delta promissory notes.

Apropos Delta's complaint that the partial assignment by Philfinance of DMC

PN No. 2731 had been effected without the consent of Delta, we note that such consent was not necessary for the validity and enforceability of the assignment in favor of petitioner. 14 Delta's argument that Philfinance's sale or assignment of part of its rights to DMC PN No. 2731 constituted conventional subrogation, which required its (Delta's) consent, is quite mistaken. Conventional subrogation, which in the first place is never lightly inferred, 15 must be clearly established by the unequivocal terms of the substituting obligation or by the evident incompatibility of the new and old obligations on every point. 16 Nothing of the sort is present in the instant case. It is in fact difficult to be impressed with Delta's complaint, since it released its DMC PN No. 2731 to Philfinance, an entity engaged in the business of buying and selling debt instruments and other securities, and more generally, in money market transactions. In Perez v. Court of Appeals, 17 the Court, speaking through Mme. Justice Herrera, made the following important statement: There is another aspect to this case. What is involved here is a money market transaction. As defined by Lawrence Smith "the money market is a market dealing in standardized short-term credit instruments (involving large amounts) where lenders and borrowers do not deal directly with each other but through a middle manor a dealer in the open market." It involves "commercial papers" which are instruments "evidencing indebtness of any person or entity. . ., which are issued, endorsed, sold or transferred or in any manner conveyed to another person or entity, with or without recourse". The fundamental function of the money market device in its operation is to match and bring together in a most impersonal manner both the "fund users" and the "fund suppliers." The money market is an "impersonal market", free from

personal considerations. "The market mechanism is intended to provide quick mobility of money and securities."

The impersonal character of the money market device overlooks the individuals or entities concerned. The issuer of a commercial paper in the

money market necessarily knows in advance that it would be expenditiously transacted and transferred to any investor/lender without need of notice to said issuer. In practice, no notification is given to the borrower or issuer of commercial paper of the sale or transfer to the investor.
xxx xxx xxx There is need to individuate a money market transaction, a relatively novel institution in the Philippine commercial scene. It has been intended to facilitate the flow and acquisition of capital on an impersonal basis. And as specifically required by Presidential Decree No. 678, the investing public must be given

adequate and effective protection in availing of the credit of a borrower in the commercial paper market. 18 (Citations omitted; emphasis supplied)

We turn to Delta's arguments concerning alleged compensation or offsetting between DMC PN No. 2731 and Philfinance PN No. 143-A. It is important to note that at the time Philfinance sold part of its rights under DMC PN No. 2731

to petitioner on 9 February 1981, no compensation had as yet taken place and indeed none could have taken place. The essential requirements of
compensation are listed in the Civil Code as follows: Art. 1279. In order that compensation may be proper, it is necessary: (1) That each one of the obligors be bound principally, and that he be at the

same time a principal creditor of the other;

(2) That both debts consists in a sum of money, or if the things due are consumable, they be of the same kind, and also of the same quality if the latter has been stated; (3) That the two debts are due; (4) That they be liquidated and demandable; (5) That over neither of them there be any retention or controversy, commenced by third persons and communicated in due time to the debtor. (Emphasis supplied) On 9 February 1981, neither DMC PN No. 2731 nor Philfinance PN No. 143-A

was due. This was explicitly recognized by Delta in its 10 April 1980 "Letter of Agreement" with Philfinance, where Delta acknowledged that the relevant promissory notes were "to be offsetted (sic) against [Philfinance] PN No. 143A upon co-terminal maturity." As noted, the assignment to petitioner was made on 9 February 1981 or from forty-nine (49) days before the "co-terminal maturity" date, that is to say, before any compensation had taken place. Further, the assignment to petitioner would have prevented compensation had taken place between Philfinance and Delta, to the extent of P304,533.33, because upon execution of the assignment in favor of petitioner, Philfinance and Delta would have ceased to be creditors and debtors of each other in their own right to the extent of the amount assigned by Philfinance to petitioner. Thus, we conclude that the assignment effected by Philfinance in favor of petitioner was a valid one and that petitioner accordingly became owner of DMC PN No. 2731 to the extent of the portion thereof assigned to him. The record shows, however, that petitioner notified Delta of the fact of the assignment to him only on 14 July 1981, 19 that is, after the maturity not only of the money market placement made by petitioner but also of both DMC PN No. 2731 and Philfinance PN No. 143-A. In other words, petitioner notified

words: Upon your written instruction, we [Pilipinas] shall undertake physical delivery of the above securities fully assigned to you . 23 The Court is not persuaded. We find nothing in the DCR that establishes an obligation on the part of Pilipinas to pay petitioner the amount of P307,933.33 nor any assumption of liability in solidum with Philfinance and Delta under DMC PN No. 2731. We read the DCR as a confirmation on the part of Pilipinas that: (1) it has in its custody, as duly constituted custodian bank, DMC PN No. 2731 of a certain face value, to mature on 6 April 1981 and payable to the order of Philfinance; (2) Pilipinas was, from and after said date of the assignment by Philfinance to petitioner (9 February 1981), holding that Note on behalf and for the benefit

of petitioner, at least to the extent it had been assigned to petitioner by payee Philfinance; 24

(3) petitioner may inspect the Note either "personally or by authorized representative", at any time during regular bank hours; and (4) upon written instructions of petitioner, Pilipinas would physically deliver

Delta of his rights as assignee after compensation had taken place by operation of law because the offsetting instruments had both reached maturity. It is a firmly settled doctrine that the rights of an assignee are not
any greater that the rights of the assignor, since the assignee is merely substituted in the place of the assignor 20 and that the assignee acquires his rights subject to the equities i.e., the defenses which the debtor could have set up against the original assignor before notice of the assignment was given to the debtor. Article 1285 of the Civil Code provides that: Art. 1285. The debtor who has consented to the assignment of rights made by a creditor in favor of a third person, cannot set up against the assignee the compensation which would pertain to him against the assignor, unless the assignor was notified by the debtor at the time he gave his consent, that he reserved his right to the compensation. If the creditor communicated the cession to him but the debtor did not consent thereto, the latter may set up the compensation of debts previous to the cession, but not of subsequent ones. If the assignment is made without the knowledge of the debtor, he may set up the compensation of all credits prior to the same and also later ones until he had knowledge of the assignment. (Emphasis supplied) Article 1626 of the same code states that: "the debtor who, before having knowledge of the assignment, pays his creditor shall be released from the obligation." In Sison v. Yap-Tico, 21 the Court explained that: [n]o man is bound to remain a debtor; he may pay to him with whom he contacted to pay; and if he pay before notice that his debt has been assigned, the law holds him exonerated, for the reason that it is the duty of the person who has acquired a title by transfer to demand payment of the debt, to give his debt or notice. 22 At the time that Delta was first put to notice of the assignment in petitioner's favor on 14 July 1981, DMC PN No. 2731 had already been discharged by compensation. Since the assignor Philfinance could not have then compelled payment anew by Delta of DMC PN No. 2731, petitioner, as assignee of Philfinance, is similarly disabled from collecting from Delta the portion of the Note assigned to him. It bears some emphasis that petitioner could have notified Delta of the assignment or sale was effected on 9 February 1981. He could have notified Delta as soon as his money market placement matured on 13 March 1981 without payment thereof being made by Philfinance; at that time, compensation had yet to set in and discharge DMC PN No. 2731. Again petitioner could have notified Delta on 26 March 1981 when petitioner received from Philfinance the Denominated Custodianship Receipt ("DCR") No. 10805 issued by private respondent Pilipinas in favor of petitioner. Petitioner could, in fine, have notified Delta at any time before the maturity date of DMC PN No. 2731. Because petitioner failed to do so, and because the record is bare of any indication that Philfinance had itself notified Delta of the assignment to petitioner, the Court is compelled to uphold the defense of compensation raised by private respondent Delta. Of course, Philfinance remains liable to petitioner under the terms of the assignment made by Philfinance to petitioner. II. We turn now to the relationship between petitioner and private respondent Pilipinas. Petitioner contends that Pilipinas became solidarily liable with Philfinance and Delta when Pilipinas issued DCR No. 10805 with the following

the DMC PN No. 2731 (or a participation therein to the extent of P307,933.33)

"should this Denominated Custodianship receipt remain outstanding in [petitioner's] favor thirty (30) days after its maturity." Thus, we find nothing written in printers ink on the DCR which could reasonably be read as converting Pilipinas into an obligor under the terms of DMC PN No. 2731 assigned to petitioner, either upon maturity thereof or any other time. We note that both in his complaint and in his testimony before the trial court, petitioner referred merely to the obligation of private respondent Pilipinas to effect the physical delivery to him of DMC PN No. 2731. 25 Accordingly, petitioner's theory that Pilipinas had assumed a solidary obligation to pay the amount represented by a portion of the Note assigned to him by Philfinance, appears to be a new theory constructed only after the trial court had ruled against him. The solidary liability that petitioner seeks to impute Pilipinas cannot, however, be lightly inferred. Under article 1207 of the Civil Code, "there is a solidary liability only when the law or the nature of the obligation requires solidarity," The record here exhibits no express assumption of solidary liability vis-a-vis petitioner, on the part of Pilipinas. Petitioner has not pointed to us to any law which imposed such liability upon Pilipinas nor has petitioner argued that the very nature of the custodianship assumed by private respondent Pilipinas necessarily implies solidary liability under the securities, custody of which was taken by Pilipinas. Accordingly, we are unable to hold Pilipinas solidarily liable with Philfinance and private respondent Delta under DMC PN No. 2731. We do not, however, mean to suggest that Pilipinas has no responsibility and liability in respect of petitioner under the terms of the DCR. To the contrary, we find, after prolonged analysis and deliberation, that private respondent Pilipinas had breached its undertaking under the DCR to petitioner Sesbreo. We believe and so hold that a contract of deposit was constituted by the act of Philfinance in designating Pilipinas as custodian or depositary bank. The depositor was initially Philfinance; the obligation of the depository was owed, however, to petitioner Sesbreo as beneficiary of the custodianship or depository agreement. We do not consider that this is a simple case of a stipulation pour autri. The custodianship or depositary agreement was established as an integral part of the money market transaction entered into by petitioner with Philfinance. Petitioner bought a portion of DMC PN No. 2731; Philfinance as assignor-vendor deposited that Note with Pilipinas in order that the thing sold would be placed outside the control of the vendor. Indeed, the constituting of the depositary or custodianship agreement was equivalent to constructive delivery of the Note (to the extent it had been sold or assigned to petitioner) to petitioner. It will be seen that custodianship agreements are designed to facilitate transactions in the money market by providing a basis for confidence on the part of the investors or placers that the instruments bought by them are effectively taken out of the pocket, as it were, of the vendors and placed safely beyond their reach, that those instruments will be there available to the placers of funds should they have need of them. The depositary in a contract of deposit is obliged to return the security or the thing deposited upon demand of the depositor (or, in the presented case, of the beneficiary) of the contract, even though a term for such return may have been established in the said contract. 26 Accordingly, any stipulation in the contract of deposit or custodianship that runs counter to the fundamental purpose of that agreement or which was not brought to the notice of and accepted by the placer-beneficiary, cannot be enforced as against such beneficiary-placer. We believe that the position taken above is supported by considerations of

public policy. If there is any party that needs the equalizing protection of the law in money market transactions, it is the members of the general public whom place their savings in such market for the purpose of generating interest revenues. 27 The custodian bank, if it is not related either in terms of equity ownership or management control to the borrower of the funds, or the commercial paper dealer, is normally a preferred or traditional banker of such borrower or dealer (here, Philfinance). The custodian bank would have every incentive to protect the interest of its client the borrower or dealer as against the placer of funds. The providers of such funds must be safeguarded from the impact of stipulations privately made between the borrowers or dealers and the custodian banks, and disclosed to fund-providers only after trouble has erupted. In the case at bar, the custodian-depositary bank Pilipinas refused to deliver the security deposited with it when petitioner first demanded physical delivery thereof on 2 April 1981. We must again note, in this connection, that on 2 April 1981, DMC PN No. 2731 had not yet matured and therefore, compensation or offsetting against Philfinance PN No. 143-A had not yet taken place. Instead of complying with the demand of the petitioner, Pilipinas purported to require and await the instructions of Philfinance, in obvious contravention of its undertaking under the DCR to effect physical delivery of the Note upon receipt of "written instructions" from petitioner Sesbreo. The ostensible term written into the DCR (i.e., "should this [DCR] remain outstanding in your favor thirty [30] days after its maturity") was not a defense against petitioner's demand for physical surrender of the Note on at least three grounds: firstly, such term was never brought to the attention of petitioner Sesbreo at the time the money market placement with Philfinance was made; secondly, such term runs counter to the very purpose of the custodianship or depositary agreement as an integral part of a money market transaction; and thirdly, it is inconsistent with the provisions of Article 1988 of the Civil Code noted above. Indeed, in principle, petitioner became entitled to demand physical delivery of the Note held by Pilipinas as soon as petitioner's money market placement matured on 13 March 1981 without payment from Philfinance. We conclude, therefore, that private respondent Pilipinas must respond to petitioner for damages sustained by arising out of its breach of duty. By failing to deliver the Note to the petitioner as depositor-beneficiary of the thing deposited, Pilipinas effectively and unlawfully deprived petitioner of the Note deposited with it. Whether or not Pilipinas itself benefitted from such conversion or unlawful deprivation inflicted upon petitioner, is of no moment for present purposes. Prima facie, the damages suffered by petitioner consisted of P304,533.33, the portion of the DMC PN No. 2731 assigned to petitioner but lost by him by reason of discharge of the Note by compensation, plus legal interest of six percent (6%) per annum containing from 14 March 1981. The conclusion we have reached is, of course, without prejudice to such right of reimbursement as Pilipinas may have vis-a-vis Philfinance. III. The third principal contention of petitioner that Philfinance and private respondents Delta and Pilipinas should be treated as one corporate entity need not detain us for long. In the first place, as already noted, jurisdiction over the person of Philfinance was never acquired either by the trial court nor by the respondent Court of Appeals. Petitioner similarly did not seek to implead Philfinance in the Petition before us. Secondly, it is not disputed that Philfinance and private respondents Delta and Pilipinas have been organized as separate corporate entities. Petitioner asks us to pierce their separate corporate entities, but has been able only to cite the presence of a common Director Mr. Ricardo Silverio, Sr., sitting on the Board of Directors of all three (3) companies. Petitioner has neither alleged nor proved that one or another of the three (3) concededly related companies used the other two (2) as mere alter egos or that the corporate affairs of the other two (2) were administered and managed for the benefit of one. There is simply not enough evidence of record to justify disregarding the separate corporate personalities of delta and Pilipinas and to hold them liable for any assumed or undetermined liability of Philfinance to petitioner. 28 WHEREFORE, for all the foregoing, the Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals in C.A.-G.R. CV No. 15195 dated 21 march 1989 and 17 July 1989, respectively, are hereby MODIFIED and SET ASIDE, to the extent that such Decision and Resolution had dismissed petitioner's complaint against Pilipinas Bank. Private respondent Pilipinas bank is hereby ORDERED to indemnify petitioner for damages in the amount of P304,533.33, plus legal interest thereon at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum counted from 2 April 1981. As so modified, the Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals are

hereby AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED.

Bidin, Davide, Jr., Romero and Melo, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. 72593 April 30, 1987 CONSOLIDATED PLYWOOD INDUSTRIES, INC., HENRY WEE, and RODOLFO T. VERGARA, petitioners, vs.IFC LEASING AND ACCEPTANCE CORPORATION, respondent. GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court which assails on questions of law a decision of the Intermediate Appellate Court in AC-G.R. CV No. 68609 dated July 17, 1985, as well as its resolution dated October 17, 1985, denying the motion for reconsideration. The antecedent facts culled from the petition are as follows: The petitioner is a corporation engaged in the logging business. It had for its program of logging activities for the year 1978 the opening of additional roads, and simultaneous logging operations along the route of said roads, in its logging concession area at Baganga, Manay, and Caraga, Davao Oriental. For this purpose, it needed two (2) additional units of tractors. Cognizant of petitioner-corporation's need and purpose, Atlantic Gulf & Pacific Company of Manila, through its sister company and marketing arm, Industrial Products Marketing (the "seller-assignor"), a corporation dealing in tractors and other heavy equipment business, offered to sell to petitioner-corporation two (2) "Used" Allis Crawler Tractors, one (1) an HDD-21-B and the other an HDD-16-B. In order to ascertain the extent of work to which the tractors were to be exposed, (t.s.n., May 28, 1980, p. 44) and to determine the capability of the "Used" tractors being offered, petitioner-corporation requested the sellerassignor to inspect the job site. After conducting said inspection, the sellerassignor assured petitioner-corporation that the "Used" Allis Crawler Tractors which were being offered were fit for the job, and gave the corresponding warranty of ninety (90) days performance of the machines and availability of parts. (t.s.n., May 28, 1980, pp. 59-66). With said assurance and warranty, and relying on the seller-assignor's skill and judgment, petitioner-corporation through petitioners Wee and Vergara, president and vice- president, respectively, agreed to purchase on installment said two (2) units of "Used" Allis Crawler Tractors. It also paid the down payment of Two Hundred Ten Thousand Pesos (P210,000.00). On April 5, 1978, the seller-assignor issued the sales invoice for the two 2) units of tractors (Exh. "3-A"). At the same time, the deed of sale with chattel mortgage with promissory note was executed (Exh. "2"). Simultaneously with the execution of the deed of sale with chattel mortgage with promissory note, the seller-assignor, by means of a deed of assignment (E exh. " 1 "), assigned its rights and interest in the chattel mortgage in favor of the respondent. Immediately thereafter, the seller-assignor delivered said two (2) units of "Used" tractors to the petitioner-corporation's job site and as agreed, the seller-assignor stationed its own mechanics to supervise the operations of the machines. Barely fourteen (14) days had elapsed after their delivery when one of the tractors broke down and after another nine (9) days, the other tractor likewise broke down (t.s.n., May 28, 1980, pp. 68-69). On April 25, 1978, petitioner Rodolfo T. Vergara formally advised the sellerassignor of the fact that the tractors broke down and requested for the sellerassignor's usual prompt attention under the warranty (E exh. " 5 "). In response to the formal advice by petitioner Rodolfo T. Vergara, Exhibit "5," the seller-assignor sent to the job site its mechanics to conduct the necessary repairs (Exhs. "6," "6-A," "6-B," 16 C," "16-C-1," "6-D," and "6-E"), but the tractors did not come out to be what they should be after the repairs were undertaken because the units were no longer serviceable (t. s. n., May 28, 1980, p. 78). Because of the breaking down of the tractors, the road building and simultaneous logging operations of petitioner-corporation were delayed and petitioner Vergara advised the seller-assignor that the payments of the installments as listed in the promissory note would likewise be delayed until the seller-assignor completely fulfills its obligation under its warranty (t.s.n, May 28, 1980, p. 79). Since the tractors were no longer serviceable, on April 7, 1979, petitioner Wee asked the seller-assignor to pull out the units and have them reconditioned, and thereafter to offer them for sale. The proceeds were to be given to the respondent and the excess, if any, to be divided between the seller-assignor and petitioner-corporation which offered to bear one-half (1/2) of the

reconditioning cost (E exh. " 7 "). No response to this letter, Exhibit "7," was received by the petitionercorporation and despite several follow-up calls, the seller-assignor did nothing with regard to the request, until the complaint in this case was filed by the respondent against the petitioners, the corporation, Wee, and Vergara. The complaint was filed by the respondent against the petitioners for the recovery of the principal sum of One Million Ninety Three Thousand Seven Hundred Eighty Nine Pesos & 71/100 (P1,093,789.71), accrued interest of One Hundred Fifty One Thousand Six Hundred Eighteen Pesos & 86/100 (P151,618.86) as of August 15, 1979, accruing interest thereafter at the rate of twelve (12%) percent per annum, attorney's fees of Two Hundred Forty Nine Thousand Eighty One Pesos & 71/100 (P249,081.7 1) and costs of suit. The petitioners filed their amended answer praying for the dismissal of the complaint and asking the trial court to order the respondent to pay the petitioners damages in an amount at the sound discretion of the court, Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00) as and for attorney's fees, and Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) for expenses of litigation. The petitioners likewise prayed for such other and further relief as would be just under the premises. In a decision dated April 20, 1981, the trial court rendered the following judgment: WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered: 1. ordering defendants to pay jointly and severally in their official and personal capacities the principal sum of ONE MILLION NINETY THREE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED NINETY EIGHT PESOS & 71/100 (P1,093,798.71) with accrued interest of ONE HUNDRED FIFTY ONE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED EIGHTEEN PESOS & 86/100 (P151,618.,86) as of August 15, 1979 and accruing interest thereafter at the rate of 12% per annum; 2. ordering defendants to pay jointly and severally attorney's fees equivalent to ten percent (10%) of the principal and to pay the costs of the suit. Defendants' counterclaim is disallowed. (pp. 45-46, Rollo) On June 8, 1981, the trial court issued an order denying the motion for reconsideration filed by the petitioners. Thus, the petitioners appealed to the Intermediate Appellate Court and assigned therein the following errors: I THAT THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE SELLER ATLANTIC GULF AND PACIFIC COMPANY OF MANILA DID NOT APPROVE DEFENDANTSAPPELLANTS CLAIM OF WARRANTY. II THAT THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT PLAINTIFF- APPELLEE IS A HOLDER IN DUE COURSE OF THE PROMISSORY NOTE AND SUED UNDER SAID NOTE AS HOLDER THEREOF IN DUE COURSE. On July 17, 1985, the Intermediate Appellate Court issued the challenged decision affirming in toto the decision of the trial court. The pertinent portions of the decision are as follows: xxx xxx xxx From the evidence presented by the parties on the issue of warranty, We are of the considered opinion that aside from the fact that no provision of warranty appears or is provided in the Deed of Sale of the tractors and even admitting that in a contract of sale unless a contrary intention appears, there is an implied warranty, the defense of breach of warranty, if there is any, as in this case, does not lie in favor of the appellants and against the plaintiffappellee who is the assignee of the promissory note and a holder of the same in due course. Warranty lies in this case only between Industrial Products Marketing and Consolidated Plywood Industries, Inc. The plaintiff-appellant herein upon application by appellant corporation granted financing for the purchase of the questioned units of Fiat-Allis Crawler,Tractors. xxx xxx xxx Holding that breach of warranty if any, is not a defense available to appellants either to withdraw from the contract and/or demand a proportionate reduction of the price with damages in either case (Art. 1567, New Civil Code). We now come to the issue as to whether the plaintiff-appellee is a holder in due course of the promissory note. To begin with, it is beyond arguments that the plaintiff-appellee is a financing corporation engaged in financing and receivable discounting extending credit

facilities to consumers and industrial, commercial or agricultural enterprises by discounting or factoring commercial papers or accounts receivable duly authorized pursuant to R.A. 5980 otherwise known as the Financing Act. A study of the questioned promissory note reveals that it is a negotiable instrument which was discounted or sold to the IFC Leasing and Acceptance Corporation for P800,000.00 (Exh. "A") considering the following. it is in writing and signed by the maker; it contains an unconditional promise to pay a certain sum of money payable at a fixed or determinable future time; it is payable to order (Sec. 1, NIL); the promissory note was negotiated when it was transferred and delivered by IPM to the appellee and duly endorsed to the latter (Sec. 30, NIL); it was taken in the conditions that the note was complete and regular upon its face before the same was overdue and without notice, that it had been previously dishonored and that the note is in good faith and for value without notice of any infirmity or defect in the title of IPM (Sec. 52, NIL); that IFC Leasing and Acceptance Corporation held the instrument free from any defect of title of prior parties and free from defenses available to prior parties among themselves and may enforce payment of the instrument for the full amount thereof against all parties liable thereon (Sec. 57, NIL); the appellants engaged that they would pay the note according to its tenor, and admit the existence of the payee IPM and its capacity to endorse (Sec. 60, NIL). In view of the essential elements found in the questioned promissory note, We opine that the same is legally and conclusively enforceable against the defendants-appellants. WHEREFORE, finding the decision appealed from according to law and evidence, We find the appeal without merit and thus affirm the decision in toto. With costs against the appellants. (pp. 50-55, Rollo) The petitioners' motion for reconsideration of the decision of July 17, 1985 was denied by the Intermediate Appellate Court in its resolution dated October 17, 1985, a copy of which was received by the petitioners on October 21, 1985. Hence, this petition was filed on the following grounds: I. ON ITS FACE, THE PROMISSORY NOTE IS CLEARLY NOT A NEGOTIABLE INSTRUMENT AS DEFINED UNDER THE LAW SINCE IT IS NEITHER PAYABLE TO ORDER NOR TO BEARER. II THE RESPONDENT IS NOT A HOLDER IN DUE COURSE: AT BEST, IT IS A MERE ASSIGNEE OF THE SUBJECT PROMISSORY NOTE. III. SINCE THE INSTANT CASE INVOLVES A NON-NEGOTIABLE INSTRUMENT AND THE TRANSFER OF RIGHTS WAS THROUGH A MERE ASSIGNMENT, THE PETITIONERS MAY RAISE AGAINST THE RESPONDENT ALL DEFENSES THAT ARE AVAILABLE TO IT AS AGAINST THE SELLER- ASSIGNOR, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS MARKETING. IV. THE PETITIONERS ARE NOT LIABLE PROMISSORY NOTE BECAUSE: FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE

filed on February 20, 1986, contended that the petition was filed out of time; that the promissory note is a negotiable instrument and respondent a holder in due course; that respondent is not liable for any breach of warranty; and finally, that the promissory note is admissible in evidence. The core issue herein is whether or not the promissory note in question is a negotiable instrument so as to bar completely all the available defenses of the petitioner against the respondent-assignee. Preliminarily, it must be established at the outset that we consider the instant petition to have been filed on time because the petitioners' motion for reconsideration actually raised new issues. It cannot, therefore, be considered pro- formal. The petition is impressed with merit. First, there is no question that the seller-assignor breached its express 90-day warranty because the findings of the trial court, adopted by the respondent appellate court, that "14 days after delivery, the first tractor broke down and 9 days, thereafter, the second tractor became inoperable" are sustained by the records. The petitioner was clearly a victim of a warranty not honored by the maker. The Civil Code provides that: ART. 1561. The vendor shall be responsible for warranty against the hidden

defects which the thing sold may have, should they render it unfit for the use for which it is intended, or should they diminish its fitness for such use to such
an extent that, had the vendee been aware thereof, he would not have acquired it or would have given a lower price for it; but said vendor shall not be answerable for patent defects or those which may be visible, or for those which are not visible if the vendee is an expert who, by reason of his trade or profession, should have known them. ART. 1562. In a sale of goods, there is an implied warranty or condition as to

the quality or fitness of the goods, as follows:

(1) Where the buyer, expressly or by implication makes known to the seller

the particular purpose for which the goods are acquired, and it appears that the buyer relies on the sellers skill or judge judgment (whether he be the grower or manufacturer or not), there is an implied warranty that the goods shall be reasonably fit for such purpose;
xxx xxx xxx ART. 1564. An implied warranty or condition as to the quality or fitness for a particular purpose may be annexed by the usage of trade. xxx xxx xxx ART. 1566. The vendor is responsible to the vendee for any hidden faults or

defects in the thing sold even though he was not aware thereof.

This provision shall not apply if the contrary has been stipulated, and the vendor was not aware of the hidden faults or defects in the thing sold. (Emphasis supplied). It is patent then, that the seller-assignor is liable for its breach of warranty against the petitioner. This liability as a general rule, extends to the corporation to whom it assigned its rights and interests unless the assignee is a holder in due course of the promissory note in question, assuming the note is negotiable, in which case the latter's rights are based on the negotiable instrument and assuming further that the petitioner's defenses may not prevail against it. Secondly, it likewise cannot be denied that as soon as the tractors broke down, the petitioner-corporation notified the seller-assignor's sister company, AG & P, about the breakdown based on the seller-assignor's express 90-day warranty, with which the latter complied by sending its mechanics. However, due to the seller-assignor's delay and its failure to comply with its warranty, the tractors became totally unserviceable and useless for the purpose for which they were purchased. Thirdly, the petitioner-corporation, thereafter, unilaterally rescinded its contract with the seller-assignor. Articles 1191 and 1567 of the Civil Code provide that: ART. 1191. The power to rescind obligations is implied in reciprocal ones, in case one of the obligors should not comply with what is incumbent upon him.

A) THE SELLER-ASSIGNOR IS GUILTY OF BREACH OF WARRANTY UNDER THE LAW; B) IF AT ALL, THE RESPONDENT MAY RECOVER ONLY FROM THE SELLERASSIGNOR OF THE PROMISSORY NOTE. V. THE ASSIGNMENT OF THE CHATTEL MORTGAGE BY THE SELLER- ASSIGNOR IN FAVOR OF THE RESPONDENT DOES NOT CHANGE THE NATURE OF THE TRANSACTION FROM BEING A SALE ON INSTALLMENTS TO A PURE LOAN. VI. THE PROMISSORY NOTE CANNOT BE ADMITTED OR USED IN EVIDENCE IN ANY COURT BECAUSE THE REQUISITE DOCUMENTARY STAMPS HAVE NOT BEEN AFFIXED THEREON OR CANCELLED. The petitioners prayed that judgment be rendered setting aside the decision dated July 17, 1985, as well as the resolution dated October 17, 1985 and dismissing the complaint but granting petitioners' counterclaims before the court of origin. On the other hand, the respondent corporation in its comment to the petition

The injured party may choose between the fulfillment and the rescission of the obligation with the payment of damages in either case. He may also seek
rescission, even after he has chosen fulfillment, if the latter should become impossible.

xxx xxx xxx ART. 1567. In the cases of articles 1561, 1562, 1564, 1565 and 1566, the supplied)

ATTY. PALACA: Did we get it right from the counsel that what is being assigned is the Deed of Sale with Chattel Mortgage with the promissory note which is as testified to by the witness was indorsed? (Counsel for Plaintiff nodding his head.) Then we have no further questions on cross, COURT: You confirm his manifestation? You are nodding your head? Do you confirm that? ATTY. ILAGAN: The Deed of Sale cannot be assigned. A deed of sale is a transaction between two persons; what is assigned are rights, the rights of the mortgagee were assigned to the IFC Leasing & Acceptance Corporation. COURT: He puts it in a simple way as one-deed of sale and chattel mortgage were assigned; . . . you want to make a distinction, one is an assignment of mortgage right and the other one is indorsement of the promissory note. What counsel for defendants wants is that you stipulate that it is contained in one single transaction? ATTY. ILAGAN: We stipulate it is one single transaction. (pp. 27-29, TSN., February 13, 1980). Secondly, even conceding for purposes of discussion that the promissory note in question is a negotiable instrument, the respondent cannot be a holder in due course for a more significant reason. The evidence presented in the instant case shows that prior to the sale on installment of the tractors, there was an arrangement between the sellerassignor, Industrial Products Marketing, and the respondent whereby the latter would pay the seller-assignor the entire purchase price and the sellerassignor, in turn, would assign its rights to the respondent which acquired the right to collect the price from the buyer, herein petitioner Consolidated Plywood Industries, Inc. A mere perusal of the Deed of Sale with Chattel Mortgage with Promissory Note, the Deed of Assignment and the Disclosure of Loan/Credit Transaction shows that said documents evidencing the sale on installment of the tractors were all executed on the same day by and among the buyer, which is herein petitioner Consolidated Plywood Industries, Inc.; the seller-assignor which is the Industrial Products Marketing; and the assignee-financing company, which is the respondent. Therefore, the respondent had actual knowledge of the fact that the seller-assignor's right to collect the purchase price was not unconditional, and that it was subject to the condition that the tractors -sold were not defective. The respondent knew that when the tractors turned out to be defective, it would be subject to the defense of failure of consideration and cannot recover the purchase price from the petitioners. Even assuming for the sake of argument that the promissory note is negotiable, the respondent, which took the same with actual knowledge of the foregoing facts so that its action in taking the instrument amounted to bad faith, is not a holder in due course. As such, the respondent is subject to all defenses which the petitioners may raise against the seller-assignor. Any other interpretation would be most inequitous to the unfortunate buyer who is not only saddled with two useless tractors but must also face a lawsuit from the assignee for the entire purchase price and all its incidents without being able to raise valid defenses available as against the assignor. Lastly, the respondent failed to present any evidence to prove that it had no knowledge of any fact, which would justify its act of taking the promissory note as not amounting to bad faith. Sections 52 and 56 of the Negotiable Instruments Law provide that: negotiating it. xxx xxx xxx SEC. 52. WHAT CONSTITUTES A HOLDER IN DUE COURSE. A holder in due course is a holder who has taken the instrument under the following conditions: xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx (c) That he took it in good faith and for value (d) That the time it was negotiated by him he had no notice of any infirmity in

vendee may elect between withdrawing from the contract and demanding a proportionate reduction of the price, with damages in either case. (Emphasis
Petitioner, having unilaterally and extrajudicially rescinded its contract with the seller-assignor, necessarily can no longer sue the seller-assignor except by way of counterclaim if the seller-assignor sues it because of the rescission. In the case of the University of the Philippines v. De los Angeles (35 SCRA 102) we held: In other words, the party who deems the contract violated may consider it resolved or rescinded, and act accordingly, without previous court action, but it proceeds at its own risk. For it is only the final judgment of the corresponding court that will conclusively and finally settle whether the action taken was or was not correct in law. But the law definitely does not require

that the contracting party who believes itself injured must first file suit and wait for adjudgement before taking extrajudicial steps to protect its interest. Otherwise, the party injured by the other's breach will have to passively sit and watch its damages accumulate during the pendency of the suit until the final judgment of rescission is rendered when the law itself requires that he should exercise due diligence to minimize its own damages (Civil Code, Article 2203). (Emphasis supplied)
Going back to the core issue, we rule that the promissory note in question is not a negotiable instrument. The pertinent portion of the note is as follows:

FOR VALUE RECEIVED, I/we jointly and severally promise to pay to the INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS MARKETING, the sum of ONE MILLION NINETY THREE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED EIGHTY NINE PESOS & 71/100 only (P 1,093,789.71), Philippine Currency, the said principal sum, to be payable in 24 monthly installments starting July 15, 1978 and every 15th of the month thereafter until fully paid. ... Considering that paragraph (d), Section 1 of the Negotiable Instruments Law requires that a promissory note "must be payable to order or bearer, " it cannot be denied that the promissory note in question is not a negotiable instrument. The instrument in order to be considered negotiablility-i.e. must contain the so-called 'words of negotiable, must be payable to 'order' or 'bearer'. These words serve as an expression of consent that the instrument may be transferred. This consent is indispensable since a maker assumes greater risk under a negotiable instrument than under a non-negotiable one. ... xxx xxx xxx When instrument is payable to order. SEC. 8. WHEN PAYABLE TO ORDER. The instrument is payable to order where it is drawn payable to the order of a specified person or to him or his order. . . . xxx xxx xxx These are the only two ways by which an instrument may be made payable to order. There must always be a specified person named in the instrument. It means that the bill or note is to be paid to the person designated in the instrument or to any person to whom he has indorsed and delivered the same.

Without the words "or order" or"to the order of, "the instrument is payable only to the person designated therein and is therefore non-negotiable. Any subsequent purchaser thereof will not enjoy the advantages of being a holder of a negotiable instrument but will merely "step into the shoes" of the person

designated in the instrument and will thus be open to all defenses available against the latter." (Campos and Campos, Notes and Selected Cases on Negotiable Instruments Law, Third Edition, page 38). (Emphasis supplied) Therefore, considering that the subject promissory note is not a negotiable instrument, it follows that the respondent can never be a holder in due course but remains a mere assignee of the note in question. Thus, the petitioner may raise against the respondent all defenses available to it as against the sellerassignor Industrial Products Marketing. This being so, there was no need for the petitioner to implied the sellerassignor when it was sued by the respondent-assignee because the petitioner's defenses apply to both or either of either of them. Actually, the

records show that even the respondent itself admitted to being a mere assignee of the promissory note in question, to wit:

the instrument of deffect in the title of the person negotiating it

xxx xxx xxx SEC. 56. WHAT CONSTITUTES NOTICE OF DEFFECT. To constitute notice

of an infirmity in the instrument or defect in the title of the person negotiating the same, the person to whom it is negotiated must have had actual knowledge of the infirmity or defect, or knowledge of such facts that his action in taking the instrument amounts to bad faith. (Emphasis supplied)

We subscribe to the view of Campos and Campos that a financing company is not a holder in good faith as to the buyer, to wit: In installment sales, the buyer usually issues a note payable to the seller to cover the purchase price. Many times, in pursuance of a previous arrangement with the seller, a finance company pays the full price and the note is indorsed to it, subrogating it to the right to collect the price from the buyer, with interest. With the increasing frequency of installment buying in this country, it is most probable that the tendency of the courts in the United States to protect the buyer against the finance company will , the finance company will be subject to the defense of failure of consideration and cannot recover the purchase price from the buyer. As against the argument that such a rule would seriously affect "a certain mode of transacting business adopted throughout the State," a court in one case stated: It may be that our holding here will require some changes in business methods and will impose a greater burden on the finance companies. We think the buyer-Mr. & Mrs. General Public-should have some protection somewhere along the line. We believe the finance company is better able to bear the risk of the dealer's insolvency than the buyer and in a far better position to protect his interests against unscrupulous and insolvent dealers. . . . If this opinion imposes great burdens on finance companies it is a potent argument in favor of a rule which win afford public protection to the general buying public against unscrupulous dealers in personal property. . . . (Mutual Finance Co. v. Martin, 63 So. 2d 649, 44 ALR 2d 1 [1953]) (Campos and Campos, Notes and Selected Cases on Negotiable Instruments Law, Third Edition, p. 128). In the case of Commercial Credit Corporation v. Orange Country Machine Works (34 Cal. 2d 766) involving similar facts, it was held that in a very real sense, the finance company was a moving force in the transaction from its very inception and acted as a party to it. When a finance company actively participates in a transaction of this type from its inception, it cannot be regarded as a holder in due course of the note given in the transaction. In like manner, therefore, even assuming that the subject promissory note is negotiable, the respondent, a financing company which actively participated in the sale on installment of the subject two Allis Crawler tractors, cannot be regarded as a holder in due course of said note. It follows that the respondent's rights under the promissory note involved in this case are subject to all defenses that the petitioners have against the seller-assignor, Industrial Products Marketing. For Section 58 of the Negotiable Instruments Law provides that "in the hands of any holder other than a holder in due course, a negotiable instrument is subject to the same defenses as if it were nonnegotiable. ... " Prescinding from the foregoing and setting aside other peripheral issues, we find that both the trial and respondent appellate court erred in holding the promissory note in question to be negotiable. Such a ruling does not only violate the law and applicable jurisprudence, but would result in unjust enrichment on the part of both the assigner- assignor and respondent assignee at the expense of the petitioner-corporation which rightfully rescinded an inequitable contract. We note, however, that since the sellerassignor has not been impleaded herein, there is no obstacle for the respondent to file a civil Suit and litigate its claims against the seller- assignor in the rather unlikely possibility that it so desires, WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the decision of the respondent appellate court dated July 17, 1985, as well as its resolution dated October 17, 1986, are hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. The complaint against the petitioner before the trial court is DISMISSED. SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 111190 June 27, 1995 LORETO D. DE LA VICTORIA, as City Fiscal of Mandaue City and in his personal capacity as garnishee, petitioner, vs.HON. JOSE P. BURGOS, Presiding Judge, RTC, Br. XVII, Cebu City, and RAUL H. SESBREO, respondents. BELLOSILLO, J.: RAUL H. SESBREO filed a complaint for damages against Assistant City Fiscals Bienvenido N. Mabanto, Jr., and Dario D. Rama, Jr., before the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City. After trial judgment was rendered ordering the defendants to pay P11,000.00 to the plaintiff, private respondent herein. The decision having become final and executory, on motion of the latter, the trial court ordered its execution. This order was questioned by the defendants before the Court of Appeals. However, on 15 January 1992 a writ of execution was issued. On 4 February 1992 a notice of garnishment was served on petitioner Loreto D. de la Victoria as City Fiscal of Mandaue City where defendant Mabanto, Jr., was then detailed. The notice directed petitioner not to disburse, transfer, release or convey to any other person except to the deputy sheriff concerned the salary checks or other checks, monies, or cash due or belonging to Mabanto, Jr., under penalty of law. 1 On 10 March 1992 private respondent filed a motion before the trial court for examination of the garnishees. On 25 May 1992 the petition pending before the Court of Appeals was dismissed. Thus the trial court, finding no more legal obstacle to act on the motion for examination of the garnishees, directed petitioner on 4 November 1992 to submit his report showing the amount of the garnished salaries of Mabanto, Jr., within fifteen (15) days from receipt 2 taking into consideration the provisions of Sec. 12, pars. (f) and (i), Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. On 24 November 1992 private respondent filed a motion to require petitioner to explain why he should not be cited in contempt of court for failing to comply with the order of 4 November 1992. On the other hand, on 19 January 1993 petitioner moved to quash the notice of garnishment claiming that he was not in possession of any money, funds, credit, property or anything of value belonging to Mabanto, Jr., except his salary and RATA checks, but that said checks were not yet properties of Mabanto, Jr., until delivered to him. He further claimed that, as such, they were still public funds which could not be subject to garnishment. On 9 March 1993 the trial court denied both motions and ordered petitioner to immediately comply with its order of 4 November 1992. 3 It opined that the checks of Mabanto, Jr., had already been released through petitioner by the Department of Justice duly signed by the officer concerned. Upon service of the writ of garnishment, petitioner as custodian of the checks was under obligation to hold them for the judgment creditor. Petitioner became a virtual party to, or a forced intervenor in, the case and the trial court thereby acquired jurisdiction to bind him to its orders and processes with a view to the complete satisfaction of the judgment. Additionally, there was no sufficient reason for petitioner to hold the checks because they were no longer government funds and presumably delivered to the payee, conformably with the last sentence of Sec. 16 of the Negotiable Instruments Law. With regard to the contempt charge, the trial court was not morally convinced of petitioner's guilt. For, while his explanation suffered from procedural infirmities nevertheless he took pains in enlightening the court by sending a written explanation dated 22 July 1992 requesting for the lifting of the notice of garnishment on the ground that the notice should have been sent to the Finance Officer of the Department of Justice. Petitioner insists that he had no authority to segregate a portion of the salary of Mabanto, Jr. The explanation however was not submitted to the trial court for action since the stenographic reporter failed to attach it to the record. 4 On 20 April 1993 the motion for reconsideration was denied. The trial court explained that it was not the duty of the garnishee to inquire or judge for himself whether the issuance of the order of execution, writ of execution and notice of garnishment was justified. His only duty was to turn over the garnished checks to the trial court which issued the order of execution. 5 Petitioner raises the following relevant issues: (1) whether a check still in the hands of the maker or its duly authorized representative is owned by the payee before physical delivery to the latter: and, (2) whether the salary check of a government official or employee funded with public funds can be subject to garnishment. Petitioner reiterates his position that the salary checks were not owned by Mabanto, Jr., because they were not yet delivered to him, and that petitioner as garnishee has no legal obligation to hold and deliver them to the trial court

to be applied to Mabanto, Jr.'s judgment debt. The thesis of petitioner is that the salary checks still formed part of public funds and therefore beyond the reach of garnishment proceedings. Petitioner has well argued his case. Garnishment is considered as a species of attachment for reaching credits belonging to the judgment debtor owing to him from a stranger to the litigation. 6 Emphasis is laid on the phrase "belonging to the judgment debtor" since it is the focal point in resolving the issues raised. As Assistant City Fiscal, the source of the salary of Mabanto, Jr., is public funds. He receives his compensation in the form of checks from the Department of Justice through petitioner as City Fiscal of Mandaue City and head of office. Under Sec. 16 of the Negotiable Instruments Law, every contract on a negotiable instrument is incomplete and revocable until delivery of the instrument for the purpose of giving effect thereto. As ordinarily understood, delivery means the transfer of the possession of the instrument by the maker or drawer with intent to transfer title to the payee and recognize

him as the holder thereof. 7

According to the trial court, the checks of Mabanto, Jr., were already released by the Department of Justice duly signed by the officer concerned through petitioner and upon service of the writ of garnishment by the sheriff petitioner was under obligation to hold them for the judgment creditor. It recognized the role of petitioner as custodian of the checks. At the same time however it considered the checks as no longer government funds and presumed delivered to the payee based on the last sentence of Sec. 16 of the Negotiable Instruments Law which states: "And where the instrument is no longer in the possession of a party whose signature appears thereon, a valid and intentional delivery by him is presumed." Yet, the presumption is not conclusive because the last portion of the provision says "until the contrary is proved." However this phrase was deleted by the trial court for no apparent reason. Proof to the contrary is its own finding that the checks were in the custody of petitioner. Inasmuch as said checks had not yet been delivered to Mabanto, Jr., they did not belong to him and still had the character of public funds. In Tiro v. Hontanosas 8 we ruled that The salary check of a government officer or employee such as a teacher does not belong to him before it is physically delivered to him. Until that time the check belongs to the government. Accordingly, before there is actual delivery of the check, the payee has no power over it; he cannot assign it without the consent of the Government. As a necessary consequence of being public fund, the checks may not be garnished to satisfy the judgment. 9 The rationale behind this doctrine is obvious consideration of public policy. The Court succinctly stated in Commissioner of Public Highways v. San Diego 10 that The functions and public services rendered by the State cannot be allowed to be paralyzed or disrupted by the diversion of public funds from their legitimate and specific objects, as appropriated by law. In denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration, the trial court expressed the additional ratiocination that it was not the duty of the garnishee to inquire or judge for himself whether the issuance of the order of execution, the writ of execution, and the notice of garnishment was justified, citing our ruling in Philippine Commercial Industrial Bank v. Court of Appeals. 11 Our precise ruling in that case was that "[I]t is not incumbent upon the garnishee to inquire or to judge for itself whether or not the order for the advance execution of a judgment is valid." But that is invoking only the general rule. We have also established therein the compelling reasons, as exceptions thereto, which were not taken into account by the trial court, e.g., a defect on the face of the writ or actual knowledge by the garnishee of lack of entitlement on the part of the garnisher. It is worth to note that the ruling referred to the validity of advance execution of judgments, but a careful scrutiny of that case and similar cases reveals that it was applicable to a notice of garnishment as well. In the case at bench, it was incumbent upon petitioner to inquire into the validity of the notice of garnishment as he had actual knowledge of the non-entitlement of private respondent to the checks in question. Consequently, we find no difficulty concluding that the trial court exceeded its jurisdiction in issuing the notice of garnishment concerning the salary checks of Mabanto, Jr., in the possession of petitioner. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The orders of 9 March 1993 and 20 April 1993 of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City, Br. 17, subject of the petition are SET ASIDE. The notice of garnishment served on petitioner dated 3 February 1992 is ordered DISCHARGED. SO ORDERED.

Quiason and Kapunan, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. 85419 March 9, 1993 DEVELOPMENT BANK OF RIZAL, plaintiff-petitioner, vs.SIMA WEI and/or LEE KIAN HUAT, MARY CHENG UY, SAMSON TUNG, ASIAN INDUSTRIAL PLASTIC CORPORATION and PRODUCERS BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, defendants-respondents. CAMPOS, JR., J.: On July 6, 1986, the Development Bank of Rizal (petitioner Bank for brevity) filed a complaint for a sum of money against respondents Sima Wei and/or Lee Kian Huat, Mary Cheng Uy, Samson Tung, Asian Industrial Plastic Corporation (Plastic Corporation for short) and the Producers Bank of the Philippines, on two causes of action: (1) To enforce payment of the balance of P1,032,450.02 on a promissory note executed by respondent Sima Wei on June 9, 1983; and (2) To enforce payment of two checks executed by Sima Wei, payable to petitioner, and drawn against the China Banking Corporation, to pay the balance due on the promissory note. Except for Lee Kian Huat, defendants filed their separate Motions to Dismiss alleging a common ground that the complaint states no cause of action. The trial court granted the defendants' Motions to Dismiss. The Court of Appeals affirmed this decision, * to which the petitioner Bank, represented by its Legal Liquidator, filed this Petition for Review by Certiorari, assigning the following as the alleged errors of the Court of Appeals: 1 (1) THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE PLAINTIFFPETITIONER HAS NO CAUSE OF ACTION AGAINST DEFENDANTSRESPONDENTS HEREIN. (2) THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT SECTION 13, RULE 3 OF THE REVISED RULES OF COURT ON ALTERNATIVE DEFENDANTS IS NOT APPLICABLE TO HEREIN DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS. The antecedent facts of this case are as follows: In consideration for a loan extended by petitioner Bank to respondent Sima Wei, the latter executed and delivered to the former a promissory note, engaging to pay the petitioner Bank or order the amount of P1,820,000.00 on or before June 24, 1983 with interest at 32% per annum. Sima Wei made partial payments on the note, leaving a balance of P1,032,450.02. On November 18, 1983, Sima Wei issued two crossed checks payable to petitioner Bank drawn against China Banking Corporation, bearing respectively the serial numbers 384934, for the amount of P550,000.00 and 384935, for the amount of P500,000.00. The said checks were allegedly issued in full settlement of the drawer's account evidenced by the promissory note. These two checks were not delivered to the petitioner-payee or to any of its authorized representatives. For reasons not shown, these checks came into the possession of respondent Lee Kian Huat, who deposited the checks without the petitioner-payee's indorsement (forged or otherwise) to the account of respondent Plastic Corporation, at the Balintawak branch, Caloocan City, of the Producers Bank. Cheng Uy, Branch Manager of the Balintawak branch of Producers Bank, relying on the assurance of respondent Samson Tung, President of Plastic Corporation, that the transaction was legal and regular, instructed the cashier of Producers Bank to accept the checks for deposit and to credit them to the account of said Plastic Corporation, inspite of the fact that the checks were crossed and payable to petitioner Bank and bore no indorsement of the latter. Hence, petitioner filed the complaint as aforestated. The main issue before Us is whether petitioner Bank has a cause of action against any or all of the defendants, in the alternative or otherwise. A cause of action is defined as an act or omission of one party in violation of the legal right or rights of another. The essential elements are: (1) legal right of the plaintiff; (2) correlative obligation of the defendant; and (3) an act or omission of the defendant in violation of said legal right. 2 The normal parties to a check are the drawer, the payee and the drawee bank. Courts have long recognized the business custom of using printed checks where blanks are provided for the date of issuance, the name of the payee, the amount payable and the drawer's signature. All the drawer has to do when he wishes to issue a check is to properly fill up the blanks and sign it. However, the mere fact that he has done these does not give rise to any liability on his part, until and unless the check is delivered to the payee or his representative. A negotiable instrument, of which a check is, is not only a written evidence of a contract right but is also a species of property. Just as a deed to a piece of land must be delivered in order to convey title to the grantee, so must a negotiable instrument be delivered to the payee in order to evidence its existence as a binding contract. Section 16 of the Negotiable Instruments Law, which governs checks, provides in part:

Every contract on a negotiable instrument is incomplete and revocable until delivery of the instrument for the purpose of giving effect thereto. . . . Thus, the payee of a negotiable instrument acquires no interest with respect thereto until its delivery to him. 3 Delivery of an instrument means transfer of possession, actual or constructive, from one person to another. 4 Without the initial delivery of the instrument from the drawer to the payee, there can be no liability on the instrument. Moreover, such delivery must be intended to give effect to the instrument. The allegations of the petitioner in the original complaint show that the two (2) China Bank checks, numbered 384934 and 384935, were not delivered to the payee, the petitioner herein. Without the delivery of said checks to petitioner-payee, the former did not acquire any right or interest therein and cannot therefore assert any cause of action, founded on said checks, whether against the drawer Sima Wei or against the Producers Bank or any of the other respondents. In the original complaint, petitioner Bank, as plaintiff, sued respondent Sima Wei on the promissory note, and the alternative defendants, including Sima Wei, on the two checks. On appeal from the orders of dismissal of the Regional Trial Court, petitioner Bank alleged that its cause of action was not based on collecting the sum of money evidenced by the negotiable instruments stated but on quasi-delict a claim for damages on the ground of fraudulent acts and evident bad faith of the alternative respondents. This was clearly an attempt by the petitioner Bank to change not only the theory of its case but the basis of his cause of action. It is well-settled that a party cannot change his theory on appeal, as this would in effect deprive the other party of his day in court. 5 Notwithstanding the above, it does not necessarily follow that the drawer Sima Wei is freed from liability to petitioner Bank under the loan evidenced by the promissory note agreed to by her. Her allegation that she has paid the balance of her loan with the two checks payable to petitioner Bank has no merit for, as We have earlier explained, these checks were never delivered to petitioner Bank. And even granting, without admitting, that there was delivery to petitioner Bank, the delivery of checks in payment of an obligation does not constitute payment unless they are cashed or their value is impaired through the fault of the creditor. 6 None of these exceptions were alleged by respondent Sima Wei. Therefore, unless respondent Sima Wei proves that she has been relieved from liability on the promissory note by some other cause, petitioner Bank has a right of action against her for the balance due thereon. However, insofar as the other respondents are concerned, petitioner Bank has no privity with them. Since petitioner Bank never received the checks on which it based its action against said respondents, it never owned them (the checks) nor did it acquire any interest therein. Thus, anything which the respondents may have done with respect to said checks could not have prejudiced petitioner Bank. It had no right or interest in the checks which could have been violated by said respondents. Petitioner Bank has therefore no cause of action against said respondents, in the alternative or otherwise. If at all, it is Sima Wei, the drawer, who would have a cause of action against hercorespondents, if the allegations in the complaint are found to be true. With respect to the second assignment of error raised by petitioner Bank regarding the applicability of Section 13, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court, We find it unnecessary to discuss the same in view of Our finding that the petitioner Bank did not acquire any right or interest in the checks due to lack of delivery. It therefore has no cause of action against the respondents, in the alternative or otherwise. In the light of the foregoing, the judgment of the Court of Appeals dismissing the petitioner's complaint is AFFIRMED insofar as the second cause of action is concerned. On the first cause of action, the case is REMANDED to the trial court for a trial on the merits, consistent with this decision, in order to determine whether respondent Sima Wei is liable to the Development Bank of Rizal for any amount under the promissory note allegedly signed by her. SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, C.J., Padilla, Regalado and Nocon, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. L-39641 February 28, 1983 METROPOL (BACOLOD) FINANCING & INVESTMENT CORPORATION, plaintiff-appellee, vs.SAMBOK MOTORS COMPANY and NG SAMBOK SONS MOTORS CO., LTD., defendants-appellants. DE CASTRO, J.: The former Court of Appeals, by its resolution dated October 16, 1974 certified this case to this Court the issue issued therein being one purely of law. On April 15, 1969 Dr. Javier Villaruel executed a promissory note in favor of Ng Sambok Sons Motors Co., Ltd., in the amount of P15,939.00 payable in twelve (12) equal monthly installments, beginning May 18, 1969, with interest at the rate of one percent per month. It is further provided that in case on non-payment of any of the installments, the total principal sum then remaining unpaid shall become due and payable with an additional interest equal to twenty-five percent of the total amount due. On the same date, Sambok Motors Company (hereinafter referred to as Sambok), a sister company of Ng Sambok Sons Motors Co., Ltd., and under the same management as the former, negotiated and indorsed the note in favor of plaintiff Metropol Financing & Investment Corporation with the following indorsement: Pay to the order of Metropol Bacolod Financing & Investment Corporation with recourse. Notice of Demand; Dishonor; Protest; and Presentment are hereby waived. SAMBOK MOTORS CO. (BACOLOD) By: RODOLFO G. NONILLO Asst. General Manager The maker, Dr. Villaruel defaulted in the payment of his installments when they became due, so on October 30, 1969 plaintiff formally presented the promissory note for payment to the maker. Dr. Villaruel failed to pay the promissory note as demanded, hence plaintiff notified Sambok as indorsee of said note of the fact that the same has been dishonored and demanded payment. Sambok failed to pay, so on November 26, 1969 plaintiff filed a complaint for collection of a sum of money before the Court of First Instance of Iloilo, Branch I. Sambok did not deny its liability but contended that it could not be obliged to pay until after its co-defendant Dr. Villaruel has been declared insolvent. During the pendency of the case in the trial court, defendant Dr. Villaruel died, hence, on October 24, 1972 the lower court, on motion, dismissed the case against Dr. Villaruel pursuant to Section 21, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court. 1 On plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, the trial court rendered its decision dated September 12, 1973, the dispositive portion of which reads as follows: WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered: (a) Ordering Sambok Motors Company to pay to the plaintiff the sum of P15,939.00 plus the legal rate of interest from October 30, 1969; (b) Ordering same defendant to pay to plaintiff the sum equivalent to 25% of P15,939.00 plus interest thereon until fully paid; and (c) To pay the cost of suit. Not satisfied with the decision, the present appeal was instituted, appellant Sambok raising a lone assignment of error as follows: The trial court erred in not dismissing the complaint by finding defendant appellant Sambok Motors Company as assignor and a qualified indorsee of the subject promissory note and in not holding it as only secondarily liable thereof. Appellant Sambok argues that by adding the words "with recourse" in the indorsement of the note, it becomes a qualified indorser that being a qualified indorser, it does not warrant that if said note is dishonored by the maker on presentment, it will pay the amount to the holder; that it only warrants the following pursuant to Section 65 of the Negotiable Instruments Law: (a) that the instrument is genuine and in all respects what it purports to be; (b) that he has a good title to it; (c) that all prior parties had capacity to contract; (d) that he has no knowledge of any fact which would impair the validity of the instrument or render it valueless. The appeal is without merit. A qualified indorsement constitutes the indorser a mere assignor of the title to

the instrument. It may be made by adding to the indorser's signature the words "without recourse" or any words of similar import. 2 Such an indorsement relieves the indorser of the general obligation to pay if the instrument is dishonored but not of the liability arising from warranties on the instrument as provided in Section 65 of the Negotiable Instruments Law already mentioned herein. However, appellant Sambok indorsed the note "with recourse" and even waived the notice of demand, dishonor, protest and presentment. "Recourse" means resort to a person who is secondarily liable after the default of the person who is primarily liable. 3 Appellant, by indorsing the note "with recourse" does not make itself a qualified indorser but a general indorser who is secondarily liable, because by such indorsement, it agreed that if Dr. Villaruel fails to pay the note, plaintiff-appellee can go after said appellant. The effect of such indorsement is that the note was indorsed without qualification. A person who indorses without qualification engages that on due presentment, the note shall be accepted or paid, or both as the case may be, and that if it be dishonored, he will pay the amount thereof to the holder. 4 Appellant Sambok's intention of indorsing the note without qualification is made even more apparent by the fact that the notice of demand, dishonor, protest and presentment were an waived. The words added by said appellant do not limit his liability, but rather confirm his obligation as a general indorser. Lastly, the lower court did not err in not declaring appellant as only secondarily liable because after an instrument is dishonored by non-payment, the person secondarily liable thereon ceases to be such and becomes a principal debtor. 5 His liabiliy becomes the same as that of the original obligor. 6 Consequently, the holder need not even proceed against the maker before suing the indorser. WHEREFORE, the decision of the lower court is hereby affirmed. No costs. SO ORDERED.

Makasiar (Chairman), Concepcion, Jr., Guerrero and Escolin, JJ., concur. Aquino, J., is on leave.

G.R. No. 92244 February 9, 1993 NATIVIDAD GEMPESAW, petitioner, vs.THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and PHILIPPINE BANK OF COMMUNICATIONS, respondents. CAMPOS, JR., J.: From the adverse decision * of the Court of Appeals (CA-G.R. CV No. 16447), petitioner, Natividad Gempesaw, appealed to this Court in a Petition for Review, on the issue of the right of the drawer to recover from the drawee bank who pays a check with a forged indorsement of the payee, debiting the same against the drawer's account. The records show that on January 23, 1985, petitioner filed a Complaint against the private respondent Philippine Bank of Communications (respondent drawee Bank) for recovery of the money value of eighty-two (82) checks charged against the petitioner's account with the respondent drawee Bank on the ground that the payees' indorsements were forgeries. The Regional Trial Court, Branch CXXVIII of Caloocan City, which tried the case, rendered a decision on November 17, 1987 dismissing the complaint as well as the respondent drawee Bank's counterclaim. On appeal, the Court of Appeals in a decision rendered on February 22, 1990, affirmed the decision of the RTC on two grounds, namely (1) that the plaintiff's (petitioner herein) gross negligence in issuing the checks was the proximate cause of the loss and (2) assuming that the bank was also negligent, the loss must nevertheless be borne by the party whose negligence was the proximate cause of the loss. On March 5, 1990, the petitioner filed this petition under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court setting forth the following as the alleged errors of the respondent Court:
1

checks in favor of several suppliers. These checks were all presented by the indorsees as holders thereof to, and honored by, the respondent drawee Bank. Respondent drawee Bank correspondingly debited the amounts thereof against petitioner's checking account numbered 30-00038-1. Most of the aforementioned checks were for amounts in excess of her actual obligations to the various payees as shown in their corresponding invoices. To mention a few: . . . 1) in Check No. 621127, dated June 27, 1984 in the amount of P11,895.23 in favor of Kawsek Inc. (Exh. A-60), appellant's actual obligation to said payee was only P895.33 (Exh. A-83); (2) in Check No. 652282 issued on September 18, 1984 in favor of Senson Enterprises in the amount of P11,041.20 (Exh. A-67) appellant's actual obligation to said payee was only P1,041.20 (Exh. 7); (3) in Check No. 589092 dated April 7, 1984 for the amount of P11,672.47 in favor of Marchem (Exh. A-61) appellant's obligation was only P1,672.47 (Exh. B); (4) in Check No. 620450 dated May 10, 1984 in favor of Knotberry for P11,677.10 (Exh. A-31) her actual obligation was only P677.10 (Exhs. C and C-1); (5) in Check No. 651862 dated August 9, 1984 in favor of Malinta Exchange Mart for P11,107.16 (Exh. A-62), her obligation was only P1,107.16 (Exh. D-2); (6) in Check No. 651863 dated August 11, 1984 in favor of Grocer's International Food Corp. in the amount of P11,335.60 (Exh. A-66), her obligation was only P1,335.60 (Exh. E and E-1); (7) in Check No. 589019 dated March 17, 1984 in favor of Sophy Products in the amount of P11,648.00 (Exh. A-78), her obligation was only P648.00 (Exh. G); (8) in Check No. 589028 dated March 10, 1984 for the amount of P11,520.00 in favor of the Yakult Philippines (Exh. A-73), the latter's invoice was only P520.00 (Exh. H-2); (9) in Check No. 62033 dated May 23, 1984 in the amount of P11,504.00 in favor of Monde Denmark Biscuit (Exh. A-34), her obligation was only P504.00 (Exhs. I-1 and I-2). 2 Practically, all the checks issued and honored by the respondent drawee bank were crossed checks. 3 Aside from the daily notice given to the petitioner by the respondent drawee Bank, the latter also furnished her with a monthly statement of her transactions, attaching thereto all the cancelled checks she had issued and which were debited against her current account. It was only after the lapse of more two (2) years that petitioner found out about the fraudulent manipulations of her bookkeeper. All the eighty-two (82) checks with forged signatures of the payees were brought to Ernest L. Boon, Chief Accountant of respondent drawee Bank at the Buendia branch, who, without authority therefor, accepted them all for deposit at the Buendia branch to the credit and/or in the accounts of Alfredo Y. Romero and Benito Lam. Ernest L. Boon was a very close friend of Alfredo Y. Romero. Sixty-three (63) out of the eighty-two (82) checks were deposited in Savings Account No. 00844-5 of Alfredo Y. Romero at the respondent drawee Bank's Buendia branch, and four (4) checks in his Savings Account No. 32-819 at its Ongpin branch. The rest of the checks were deposited in Account No. 0443-4, under the name of Benito Lam at the Elcao branch of the respondent drawee Bank. About thirty (30) of the payees whose names were specifically written on the checks testified that they did not receive nor even see the subject checks and that the indorsements appearing at the back of the checks were not theirs. The team of auditors from the main office of the respondent drawee Bank which conducted periodic inspection of the branches' operations failed to discover, check or stop the unauthorized acts of Ernest L. Boon. Under the rules of the respondent drawee Bank, only a Branch Manager and no other official of the respondent drawee bank, may accept a second indorsement on a check for deposit. In the case at bar, all the deposit slips of the eighty-two (82) checks in question were initialed and/or approved for deposit by Ernest L. Boon. The Branch Managers of the Ongpin and Elcao branches accepted the deposits made in the Buendia branch and credited the accounts of Alfredo Y. Romero and Benito Lam in their respective branches. On November 7, 1984, petitioner made a written demand on respondent drawee Bank to credit her account with the money value of the eighty-two (82) checks totalling P1,208.606.89 for having been wrongfully charged against her account. Respondent drawee Bank refused to grant petitioner's demand. On January 23, 1985, petitioner filed the complaint with the Regional Trial Court. This is not a suit by the party whose signature was forged on a check drawn against the drawee bank. The payees are not parties to the case. Rather, it is the drawer, whose signature is genuine, who instituted this action to recover from the drawee bank the money value of eighty-two (82) checks paid out by the drawee bank to holders of those checks where the indorsements of the payees were forged. How and by whom the forgeries were committed are not established on the record, but the respective payees admitted that they did not receive those checks and therefore never indorsed the same. The

I THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THE NEGLIGENCE OF THE DRAWER IS THE PROXIMATE CAUSE OF THE RESULTING INJURY TO THE DRAWEE BANK, AND THE DRAWER IS PRECLUDED FROM SETTING UP THE FORGERY OR WANT OF AUTHORITY. II THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ALSO ERRED IN NOT FINDING AND RULING THAT IT IS THE GROSS AND INEXCUSABLE NEGLIGENCE AND FRAUDULENT ACTS OF THE OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE RESPONDENT BANK IN FORGING THE SIGNATURE OF THE PAYEES AND THE WRONG AND/OR ILLEGAL PAYMENTS MADE TO PERSONS, OTHER THAN TO THE INTENDED PAYEES SPECIFIED IN THE CHECKS, IS THE DIRECT AND PROXIMATE CAUSE OF THE DAMAGE TO PETITIONER WHOSE SAVING (SIC) ACCOUNT WAS DEBITED. III THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ALSO ERRED IN NOT ORDERING THE RESPONDENT BANK TO RESTORE OR RE-CREDIT THE CHECKING ACCOUNT OF THE PETITIONER IN THE CALOOCAN CITY BRANCH BY THE VALUE OF THE EIGHTY-TWO (82) CHECKS WHICH IS IN THE AMOUNT OF P1,208,606.89 WITH LEGAL INTEREST. From the records, the relevant facts are as follows: Petitioner Natividad O. Gempesaw (petitioner) owns and operates four grocery stores located at Rizal Avenue Extension and at Second Avenue, Caloocan City. Among these groceries are D.G. Shopper's Mart and D.G. Whole Sale Mart. Petitioner maintains a checking account numbered 13-00038-1 with the Caloocan City Branch of the respondent drawee Bank. To facilitate payment of debts to her suppliers, petitioner draws checks against her checking account with the respondent bank as drawee. Her customary practice of issuing checks in payment of her suppliers was as follows: the checks were prepared and filled up as to all material particulars by her trusted bookkeeper, Alicia Galang, an employee for more than eight (8) years. After the bookkeeper prepared the checks, the completed checks were submitted to the petitioner for her signature, together with the corresponding invoice receipts which indicate the correct obligations due and payable to her suppliers. Petitioner signed each and every check without bothering to verify the accuracy of the checks against the corresponding invoices because she reposed full and implicit trust and confidence on her bookkeeper. The issuance and delivery of the checks to the payees named therein were left to the bookkeeper. Petitioner admitted that she did not make any verification as to whether or not the checks were delivered to their respective payees. Although the respondent drawee Bank notified her of all checks presented to and paid by the bank, petitioner did not verify he correctness of the returned checks, much less check if the payees actually received the checks in payment for the supplies she received. In the course of her business operations covering a period of two years, petitioner issued, following her usual practice stated above, a total of eighty-two (82)

applicable law is the Negotiable Instruments Law the NIL). Section 23 of the NIL provides:

(heretofore referred to as

When a signature is forged or made without the authority of the person whose signature it purports to be, it is wholly inoperative, and no right to retain the instrument, or to give a discharge therefor, or to enforce payment thereof against any party thereto, can be acquired through or under such signature, unless the party against whom it is sought to enforce such right is precluded from setting up the forgery or want of authority. Under the aforecited provision, forgery is a real or absolute defense by the party whose signature is forged. A party whose signature to an instrument was forged was never a party and never gave his consent to the contract which gave rise to the instrument. Since his signature does not appear in the instrument, he cannot be held liable thereon by anyone, not even by a holder in due course. Thus, if a person's signature is forged as a maker of a promissory note, he cannot be made to pay because he never made the promise to pay. Or where a person's signature as a drawer of a check is forged, the drawee bank cannot charge the amount thereof against the drawer's account because he never gave the bank the order to pay. And said section does not refer only to the forged signature of the maker of a promissory note and of the drawer of a check. It covers also a forged indorsement, i.e., the forged signature of the payee or indorsee of a note or check. Since under said provision a forged signature is "wholly inoperative", no one can gain title to the instrument through such forged indorsement. Such an indorsement prevents any subsequent party from acquiring any right as against any party whose name appears prior to the forgery. Although rights may exist between and among parties subsequent to the forged indorsement, not one of them can acquire rights against parties prior to the forgery. Such forged indorsement cuts off the rights of all subsequent parties as against parties prior to the forgery. However, the law makes an exception to these rules where a party is precluded from setting up forgery as a defense. As a matter of practical significance, problems arising from forged indorsements of checks may generally be broken into two types of cases: (1) where forgery was accomplished by a person not associated with the drawer for example a mail robbery; and (2) where the indorsement was forged by an agent of the drawer. This difference in situations would determine the effect of the drawer's negligence with respect to forged indorsements. While there is no duty resting on the depositor to look for forged indorsements on his cancelled checks in contrast to a duty imposed upon him to look for forgeries of his own name, a depositor is under a duty to set up an accounting system and a business procedure as are reasonably calculated to prevent or render difficult the forgery of indorsements, particularly by the depositor's own employees. And if the drawer (depositor) learns that a check drawn by him has been paid under a forged indorsement, the drawer is under duty promptly to report such fact to the drawee bank. 5 For his negligence or failure either to discover or to report promptly the fact of such forgery to the drawee, the drawer loses his right against the drawee who has debited his account under a forged indorsement. 6 In other words, he is precluded from using forgery as a basis for his claim for re-crediting of his account. In the case at bar, petitioner admitted that the checks were filled up and completed by her trusted employee, Alicia Galang, and were given to her for her signature. Her signing the checks made the negotiable instrument complete. Prior to signing the checks, there was no valid contract yet. Every contract on a negotiable instrument is incomplete and revocable until delivery of the instrument to the payee for the purpose of giving effect thereto. 7 The first delivery of the instrument, complete in form, to the payee who takes it as a holder, is called issuance of the instrument. 8 Without the initial delivery of the instrument from the drawer of the check to the payee, there can be no valid and binding contract and no liability on the instrument. Petitioner completed the checks by signing them as drawer and thereafter authorized her employee Alicia Galang to deliver the eighty-two (82) checks to their respective payees. Instead of issuing the checks to the payees as named in the checks, Alicia Galang delivered them to the Chief Accountant of the Buendia branch of the respondent drawee Bank, a certain Ernest L. Boon. It was established that the signatures of the payees as first indorsers were forged. The record fails to show the identity of the party who made the forged signatures. The checks were then indorsed for the second time with the names of Alfredo Y. Romero and Benito Lam, and were deposited in the latter's accounts as earlier noted. The second indorsements were all genuine signatures of the alleged holders. All the eighty-two (82) checks bearing the forged indorsements of the payees and the genuine second indorsements of Alfredo Y. Romero and Benito Lam were accepted for deposit at the Buendia branch of respondent drawee Bank to the credit of their respective savings accounts in the Buendia, Ongpin and Elcao branches of the same bank. The total amount of P1,208,606.89, represented by eighty-two (82) checks, were

credited and paid out by respondent drawee Bank to Alfredo Y. Romero and Benito Lam, and debited against petitioner's checking account No. 13-000381, Caloocan branch. As a rule, a drawee bank who has paid a check on which an indorsement has been forged cannot charge the drawer's account for the amount of said check. An exception to this rule is where the drawer is guilty of such negligence which causes the bank to honor such a check or checks. If a check is stolen from the payee, it is quite obvious that the drawer cannot possibly discover the forged indorsement by mere examination of his cancelled check. This accounts for the rule that although a depositor owes a duty to his drawee bank to examine his cancelled checks for forgery of his own signature, he has no similar duty as to forged indorsements. A different situation arises where the indorsement was forged by an employee or agent of the drawer, or done with the active participation of the latter. Most of the cases involving forgery by an agent or employee deal with the payee's indorsement. The drawer and the payee often time shave business relations of long standing. The continued occurrence of business transactions of the same nature provides the opportunity for the agent/employee to commit the fraud after having developed familiarity with the signatures of the parties. However, sooner or later, some leak will show on the drawer's books. It will then be just a question of time until the fraud is discovered. This is specially true when the agent perpetrates a series of forgeries as in the case at bar. The negligence of a depositor which will prevent recovery of an unauthorized payment is based on failure of the depositor to act as a prudent businessman would under the circumstances. In the case at bar, the petitioner relied implicitly upon the honesty and loyalty of her bookkeeper, and did not even verify the accuracy of amounts of the checks she signed against the invoices attached thereto. Furthermore, although she regularly received her bank statements, she apparently did not carefully examine the same nor the check stubs and the returned checks, and did not compare them with the same invoices. Otherwise, she could have easily discovered the discrepancies between the checks and the documents serving as bases for the checks. With such discovery, the subsequent forgeries would not have been accomplished. It was not until two years after the bookkeeper commenced her fraudulent scheme that petitioner discovered that eighty-two (82) checks were wrongfully charged to her account, at which she notified the respondent drawee bank. It is highly improbable that in a period of two years, not one of Petitioner's suppliers complained of non-payment. Assuming that even one single complaint had been made, petitioner would have been duty-bound, as far as the respondent drawee Bank was concerned, to make an adequate investigation on the matter. Had this been done, the discrepancies would have been discovered, sooner or later. Petitioner's failure to make such adequate inquiry constituted negligence which resulted in the bank's honoring of the subsequent checks with forged indorsements. On the other hand, since the record mentions nothing about such a complaint, the possibility exists that the checks in question covered inexistent sales. But even in such a case, considering the length of a period of two (2) years, it is hard to believe that petitioner did not know or realize that she was paying more than she should for the supplies she was actually getting. A depositor may not sit idly by, after knowledge has come to her that her funds seem to be disappearing or that there may be a leak in her business, and refrain from taking the steps that a careful and prudent businessman would take in such circumstances and if taken, would result in stopping the continuance of the fraudulent scheme. If she fails to take steps, the facts may establish her negligence, and in that event, she would be estopped from recovering from the bank. 9 One thing is clear from the records that the petitioner failed to examine her records with reasonable diligence whether before she signed the checks or after receiving her bank statements. Had the petitioner examined her records more carefully, particularly the invoice receipts, cancelled checks, check book stubs, and had she compared the sums written as amounts payable in the eighty-two (82) checks with the pertinent sales invoices, she would have easily discovered that in some checks, the amounts did not tally with those appearing in the sales invoices. Had she noticed these discrepancies, she should not have signed those checks, and should have conducted an inquiry as to the reason for the irregular entries. Likewise had petitioner been more vigilant in going over her current account by taking careful note of the daily reports made by respondent drawee Bank in her issued checks, or at least made random scrutiny of cancelled checks returned by respondent drawee Bank at the close of each month, she could have easily discovered the fraud being perpetrated by Alicia Galang, and could have reported the matter to the respondent drawee Bank. The respondent drawee Bank then could have taken immediate steps to prevent further commission of such fraud. Thus, petitioner's negligence was the proximate cause of her loss. And since it was her negligence which caused the respondent drawee Bank to honor the forged checks or prevented it from recovering the amount it had already paid on the

checks, petitioner cannot now complain should the bank refuse to recredit her account with the amount of such checks. 10 Under Section 23 of the NIL, she is now precluded from using the forgery to prevent the bank's debiting of her account. The doctrine in the case of Great Eastern Life Insurance Co. vs. Hongkong & Shanghai Bank 11 is not applicable to the case at bar because in said case, the check was fraudulently taken and the signature of the payee was forged not by an agent or employee of the drawer. The drawer was not found to be negligent in the handling of its business affairs and the theft of the check by a total stranger was not attributable to negligence of the drawer; neither was the forging of the payee's indorsement due to the drawer's negligence. Since the drawer was not negligent, the drawee was duty-bound to restore to the drawer's account the amount theretofore paid under the check with a forged payee's indorsement because the drawee did not pay as ordered by the drawer. Petitioner argues that respondent drawee Bank should not have honored the checks because they were crossed checks. Issuing a crossed check imposes no legal obligation on the drawee not to honor such a check. It is more of a warning to the holder that the check cannot be presented to the drawee bank for payment in cash. Instead, the check can only be deposited with the payee's bank which in turn must present it for payment against the drawee bank in the course of normal banking transactions between banks. The crossed check cannot be presented for payment but it can only be deposited and the drawee bank may only pay to another bank in the payee's or indorser's account. Petitioner likewise contends that banking rules prohibit the drawee bank from having checks with more than one indorsement. The banking rule banning acceptance of checks for deposit or cash payment with more than one indorsement unless cleared by some bank officials does not invalidate the instrument; neither does it invalidate the negotiation or transfer of the said check. In effect, this rule destroys the negotiability of bills/checks by limiting their negotiation by indorsement of only the payee. Under the NIL, the only kind of indorsement which stops the further negotiation of an instrument is a restrictive indorsement which prohibits the further negotiation thereof. Sec. 36. When indorsement restrictive. An indorsement is restrictive which either (a) Prohibits further negotiation of the instrument; or xxx xxx xxx In this kind of restrictive indorsement, the prohibition to transfer or negotiate must be written in express words at the back of the instrument, so that any subsequent party may be forewarned that ceases to be negotiable. However, the restrictive indorsee acquires the right to receive payment and bring any action thereon as any indorser, but he can no longer transfer his rights as such indorsee where the form of the indorsement does not authorize him to do so. 12 Although the holder of a check cannot compel a drawee bank to honor it because there is no privity between them, as far as the drawer-depositor is concerned, such bank may not legally refuse to honor a negotiable bill of exchange or a check drawn against it with more than one indorsement if there is nothing irregular with the bill or check and the drawer has sufficient funds. The drawee cannot be compelled to accept or pay the check by the drawer or any holder because as a drawee, he incurs no liability on the check unless he accepts it. But the drawee will make itself liable to a suit for damages at the instance of the drawer for wrongful dishonor of the bill or check. Thus, it is clear that under the NIL, petitioner is precluded from raising the defense of forgery by reason of her gross negligence. But under Section 196 of the NIL, any case not provided for in the Act shall be governed by the provisions of existing legislation. Under the laws of quasi-delict, she cannot point to the negligence of the respondent drawee Bank in the selection and supervision of its employees as being the cause of the loss because negligence is the proximate cause thereof and under Article 2179 of the Civil Code, she may not be awarded damages. However, under Article 1170 of the same Code the respondent drawee Bank may be held liable for damages. The article provides Those who in the performance of their obligations are guilty of fraud, negligence or delay, and those who in any manner contravene the tenor thereof, are liable for damages. There is no question that there is a contractual relation between petitioner as depositor (obligee) and the respondent drawee bank as the obligor. In the performance of its obligation, the drawee bank is bound by its internal banking rules and regulations which form part of any contract it enters into with any of

its depositors. When it violated its internal rules that second endorsements are not to be accepted without the approval of its branch managers and it did accept the same upon the mere approval of Boon, a chief accountant, it contravened the tenor of its obligation at the very least, if it were not actually guilty of fraud or negligence. Furthermore, the fact that the respondent drawee Bank did not discover the irregularity with respect to the acceptance of checks with second indorsement for deposit even without the approval of the branch manager despite periodic inspection conducted by a team of auditors from the main office constitutes negligence on the part of the bank in carrying out its obligations to its depositors. Article 1173 provides The fault or negligence of the obligor consists in the omission of that diligence which is required by the nature of the obligation and corresponds with the circumstance of the persons, of the time and of the place. . . . We hold that banking business is so impressed with public interest where the trust and confidence of the public in general is of paramount importance such that the appropriate standard of diligence must be a high degree of diligence, if not the utmost diligence. Surely, respondent drawee Bank cannot claim it exercised such a degree of diligence that is required of it. There is no way We can allow it now to escape liability for such negligence. Its liability as obligor is not merely vicarious but primary wherein the defense of exercise of due diligence in the selection and supervision of its employees is of no moment. Premises considered, respondent drawee Bank is adjudged liable to share the loss with the petitioner on a fifty-fifty ratio in accordance with Article 172 which provides: Responsibility arising from negligence in the performance of every kind of obligation is also demandable, but such liability may be regulated by the courts according to the circumstances. With the foregoing provisions of the Civil Code being relied upon, it is being made clear that the decision to hold the drawee bank liable is based on law and substantial justice and not on mere equity. And although the case was brought before the court not on breach of contractual obligations, the courts are not precluded from applying to the circumstances of the case the laws pertinent thereto. Thus, the fact that petitioner's negligence was found to be the proximate cause of her loss does not preclude her from recovering damages. The reason why the decision dealt on a discussion on proximate cause is due to the error pointed out by petitioner as allegedly committed by the respondent court. And in breaches of contract under Article 1173, due diligence on the part of the defendant is not a defense. PREMISES CONSIDERED, the case is hereby ordered REMANDED to the trial court for the reception of evidence to determine the exact amount of loss suffered by the petitioner, considering that she partly benefited from the issuance of the questioned checks since the obligation for which she issued them were apparently extinguished, such that only the excess amount over and above the total of these actual obligations must be considered as loss of which one half must be paid by respondent drawee bank to herein petitioner. SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, C.J., Feliciano, Regalado and Nocon, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. L-15126

November 30, 1961

Eight. That defendants, both or either of them, had no obligation or liability,


directly or indirectly with the Ocampo Clinic before, or on 9 September 1953;

VICENTE R. DE OCAMPO & CO., plaintiff-appellee, vs.ANITA GATCHALIAN, ET AL., defendants-appellants. LABRADOR, J.: Appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Manila, Hon. Conrado M. Velasquez, presiding, sentencing the defendants to pay the plaintiff the sum of P600, with legal interest from September 10, 1953 until paid, and to pay the costs. The action is for the recovery of the value of a check for P600 payable to the plaintiff and drawn by defendant Anita C. Gatchalian. The complaint sets forth the check and alleges that plaintiff received it in payment of the indebtedness of one Matilde Gonzales; that upon receipt of said check, plaintiff gave Matilde Gonzales P158.25, the difference between the face value of the check and Matilde Gonzales' indebtedness. The defendants admit the execution of the check but they allege in their answer, as affirmative defense, that it was issued subject to a condition, which was not fulfilled, and that plaintiff was guilty of gross negligence in not taking steps to protect itself. At the time of the trial, the parties submitted a stipulation of facts, which reads as follows: Plaintiff and defendants through their respective undersigned attorney's respectfully submit the following Agreed Stipulation of Facts;

Ninth. That Manuel Gonzales having received the check Exh. "B" from

defendant Anita C. Gatchalian under the representations and conditions herein above specified, delivered the same to the Ocampo Clinic, in payment of the fees and expenses arising from the hospitalization of his wife;

Tenth. That plaintiff for and in consideration of fees and expenses of


hospitalization and the release of the wife of Manuel Gonzales from its hospital, accepted said check, applying P441.75 (Exhibit "A") thereof to payment of said fees and expenses and delivering to Manuel Gonzales the amount of P158.25 (as per receipt, Exhibit "D") representing the balance on the amount of the said check, Exh. "B";

Eleventh. That the acts of acceptance of the check and application of its
proceeds in the manner specified above were made without previous inquiry by plaintiff from defendants:

Twelfth. That plaintiff filed or caused to be filed with the Office of the City

Fiscal of Manila, a complaint for estafa against Manuel Gonzales based on and arising from the acts of said Manuel Gonzales in paying his obligations with plaintiff and receiving the cash balance of the check, Exh. "B" and that said complaint was subsequently dropped;

Thirteenth. That the exhibits mentioned in this stipulation and the other
exhibits submitted previously, be considered as parts of this stipulation, without necessity of formally offering them in evidence;

First. That on or about 8 September 1953, in the evening, defendant Anita

C. Gatchalian who was then interested in looking for a car for the use of her husband and the family, was shown and offered a car by Manuel Gonzales who was accompanied by Emil Fajardo, the latter being personally known to defendant Anita C. Gatchalian;

Second. That Manuel Gonzales represented to defend Anita C. Gatchalian

that he was duly authorized by the owner of the car, Ocampo Clinic, to look for a buyer of said car and to negotiate for and accomplish said sale, but which facts were not known to plaintiff;

WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully prayed that this agreed stipulation of facts be admitted and that the parties hereto be given fifteen days from today within which to submit simultaneously their memorandum to discuss the issues of law arising from the facts, reserving to either party the right to submit reply memorandum, if necessary, within ten days from receipt of their main memoranda. (pp. 21-25, Defendant's Record on Appeal). No other evidence was submitted and upon said stipulation the court rendered the judgment already alluded above. In their appeal defendants-appellants contend that the check is not a negotiable instrument, under the facts and circumstances stated in the stipulation of facts, and that plaintiff is not a holder in due course. In support of the first contention, it is argued that defendant Gatchalian had no intention to transfer her property in the instrument as it was for safekeeping merely and, therefore, there was no delivery required by law (Section 16, Negotiable Instruments Law); that assuming for the sake of argument that delivery was not for safekeeping merely, delivery was conditional and the condition was not fulfilled. In support of the contention that plaintiff-appellee is not a holder in due course, the appellant argues that plaintiff-appellee cannot be a holder in due course because there was no negotiation prior to plaintiff-appellee's acquiring the possession of the check; that a holder in due course presupposes a prior party from whose hands negotiation proceeded, and in the case at bar, plaintiff-appellee is the payee, the maker and the payee being original parties. It is also claimed that the plaintiff-appellee is not a holder in due course because it acquired the check with notice of defect in the title of the holder, Manuel Gonzales, and because under the circumstances stated in the stipulation of facts there were circumstances that brought suspicion about Gonzales' possession and negotiation, which circumstances should have placed the plaintiff-appellee under the duty, to inquire into the title of the holder. The circumstances are as follows: The check is not a personal check of Manuel Gonzales. (Paragraph Ninth, Stipulation of Facts). Plaintiff could have inquired why a person would use the check of another to pay his own debt. Furthermore, plaintiff had the "means of knowledge" inasmuch as defendant Hipolito Gatchalian is personally acquainted with V. R. de Ocampo (Paragraph Sixth, Stipulation of Facts.). The maker Anita C. Gatchalian is a complete stranger to Manuel Gonzales and Dr. V. R. de Ocampo (Paragraph Sixth, Stipulation of Facts). The maker is not in any manner obligated to Ocampo Clinic nor to Manuel Gonzales. (Par. 7, Stipulation of Facts.) The check could not have been intended to pay the hospital fees which amounted only to P441.75. The check is in the amount of P600.00, which is in excess of the amount due plaintiff. (Par. 10, Stipulation of Facts). It was necessary for plaintiff to give Manuel Gonzales change in the sum P158.25 (Par. 10, Stipulation of Facts). Since Manuel Gonzales is the party obliged to pay, plaintiff should have been more cautious and wary in accepting a piece of paper and disbursing cold cash.

Third. That defendant Anita C. Gatchalian, finding the price of the car

quoted by Manuel Gonzales to her satisfaction, requested Manuel Gonzales to bring the car the day following together with the certificate of registration of the car, so that her husband would be able to see same; that on this request of defendant Anita C. Gatchalian, Manuel Gonzales advised her that the owner of the car will not be willing to give the certificate of registration unless there is a showing that the party interested in the purchase of said car is ready and willing to make such purchase and that for this purpose Manuel Gonzales requested defendant Anita C. Gatchalian to give him (Manuel Gonzales) a check which will be shown to the owner as evidence of buyer's good faith in the intention to purchase the said car, the said check to be for safekeeping only of Manuel Gonzales and to be returned to defendant Anita C. Gatchalian the following day when Manuel Gonzales brings the car and the certificate of registration, but which facts were not known to plaintiff;

Fourth. That relying on these representations of Manuel Gonzales and with

his assurance that said check will be only for safekeeping and which will be returned to said defendant the following day when the car and its certificate of registration will be brought by Manuel Gonzales to defendants, but which facts were not known to plaintiff, defendant Anita C. Gatchalian drew and issued a check, Exh. "B"; that Manuel Gonzales executed and issued a receipt for said check, Exh. "1";

Fifth. That on the failure of Manuel Gonzales to appear the day following

and on his failure to bring the car and its certificate of registration and to return the check, Exh. "B", on the following day as previously agreed upon, defendant Anita C. Gatchalian issued a "Stop Payment Order" on the check, Exh. "3", with the drawee bank. Said "Stop Payment Order" was issued without previous notice on plaintiff not being know to defendant, Anita C. Gatchalian and who furthermore had no reason to know check was given to plaintiff;

Sixth. That defendants, both or either of them, did not know personally
Manuel Gonzales or any member of his family at any time prior to September 1953, but that defendant Hipolito Gatchalian is personally acquainted with V. R. de Ocampo;

Seventh. That defendants, both or either of them, had no arrangements or

agreement with the Ocampo Clinic at any time prior to, on or after 9 September 1953 for the hospitalization of the wife of Manuel Gonzales and neither or both of said defendants had assumed, expressly or impliedly, with the Ocampo Clinic, the obligation of Manuel Gonzales or his wife for the hospitalization of the latter;

The check is payable to bearer. Hence, any person who holds it should have been subjected to inquiries. EVEN IN A BANK, CHECKS ARE NOT CASHED WITHOUT INQUIRY FROM THE BEARER. The same inquiries should have been made by plaintiff. (Defendants-appellants' brief, pp. 52-53) Answering the first contention of appellant, counsel for plaintiff-appellee argues that in accordance with the best authority on the Negotiable Instruments Law, plaintiff-appellee may be considered as a holder in due course, citing Brannan's Negotiable Instruments Law, 6th edition, page 252. On this issue Brannan holds that a payee may be a holder in due course and says that to this effect is the greater weight of authority, thus: Whether the payee may be a holder in due course under the N. I. L., as he was at common law, is a question upon which the courts are in serious conflict. There can be no doubt that a proper interpretation of the act read as a whole leads to the conclusion that a payee may be a holder in due course under any circumstance in which he meets the requirements of Sec. 52. The argument of Professor Brannan in an earlier edition of this work has never been successfully answered and is here repeated. Section 191 defines "holder" as the payee or indorsee of a bill or note, who is in possession of it, or the bearer thereof. Sec. 52 defendants defines a holder in due course as "a holder who has taken the instrument under the following conditions: 1. That it is complete and regular on its face. 2. That he became the holder of it before it was overdue, and without notice that it had been previously dishonored, if such was the fact. 3. That he took it in good faith and for value. 4. That at the time it was negotiated to him he had no notice of any infirmity in the instrument or defect in the title of the person negotiating it." Since "holder", as defined in sec. 191, includes a payee who is in possession the word holder in the first clause of sec. 52 and in the second subsection may be replaced by the definition in sec. 191 so as to read "a holder in due course is a payee or indorsee who is in possession," etc. (Brannan's on Negotiable Instruments Law, 6th ed., p. 543). The first argument of the defendants-appellants, therefore, depends upon whether or not the plaintiff-appellee is a holder in due course. If it is such a holder in due course, it is immaterial that it was the payee and an immediate party to the instrument. The other contention of the plaintiff is that there has been no negotiation of the instrument, because the drawer did not deliver the instrument to Manuel Gonzales with the intention of negotiating the same, or for the purpose of giving effect thereto, for as the stipulation of facts declares the check was to remain in the possession Manuel Gonzales, and was not to be negotiated, but was to serve merely as evidence of good faith of defendants in their desire to purchase the car being sold to them. Admitting that such was the intention of the drawer of the check when she delivered it to Manuel Gonzales, it was no fault of the plaintiff-appellee drawee if Manuel Gonzales delivered the check or negotiated it. As the check was payable to the plaintiff-appellee, and was entrusted to Manuel Gonzales by Gatchalian, the delivery to Manuel Gonzales was a delivery by the drawer to his own agent; in other words, Manuel Gonzales was the agent of the drawer Anita Gatchalian insofar as the possession of the check is concerned. So, when the agent of drawer Manuel Gonzales negotiated the check with the intention of getting its value from plaintiff-appellee, negotiation took place through no fault of the plaintiffappellee, unless it can be shown that the plaintiff-appellee should be considered as having notice of the defect in the possession of the holder Manuel Gonzales. Our resolution of this issue leads us to a consideration of the last question presented by the appellants, i.e., whether the plaintiffappellee may be considered as a holder in due course. Section 52, Negotiable Instruments Law, defines holder in due course, thus: A holder in due course is a holder who has taken the instrument under the following conditions: (a) That it is complete and regular upon its face; (b) That he became the holder of it before it was overdue, and without notice that it had been previously dishonored, if such was the fact; (c) That he took it in good faith and for value; (d) That at the time it was negotiated to him he had no notice of any infirmity in the instrument or defect in the title of the person negotiating it. The stipulation of facts expressly states that plaintiff-appellee was not aware of the circumstances under which the check was delivered to Manuel Gonzales, but we agree with the defendants-appellants that the circumstances indicated by them in their briefs, such as the fact that appellants had no

obligation or liability to the Ocampo Clinic; that the amount of the check did not correspond exactly with the obligation of Matilde Gonzales to Dr. V. R. de Ocampo; and that the check had two parallel lines in the upper left hand corner, which practice means that the check could only be deposited but may not be converted into cash all these circumstances should have put the plaintiff-appellee to inquiry as to the why and wherefore of the possession of the check by Manuel Gonzales, and why he used it to pay Matilde's account. It was payee's duty to ascertain from the holder Manuel Gonzales what the nature of the latter's title to the check was or the nature of his possession. Having failed in this respect, we must declare that plaintiff-appellee was guilty of gross neglect in not finding out the nature of the title and possession of Manuel Gonzales, amounting to legal absence of good faith, and it may not be considered as a holder of the check in good faith. To such effect is the consensus of authority. In order to show that the defendant had "knowledge of such facts that his action in taking the instrument amounted to bad faith," it is not necessary to prove that the defendant knew the exact fraud that was practiced upon the plaintiff by the defendant's assignor, it being sufficient to show that the defendant had notice that there was something wrong about his assignor's acquisition of title, although he did not have notice of the particular wrong that was committed. Paika v. Perry, 225 Mass. 563, 114 N.E. 830. It is sufficient that the buyer of a note had notice or knowledge that the note was in some way tainted with fraud. It is not necessary that he should know the particulars or even the nature of the fraud, since all that is required is knowledge of such facts that his action in taking the note amounted bad faith. Ozark Motor Co. v. Horton (Mo. App.), 196 S.W. 395. Accord. Davis v. First Nat. Bank, 26 Ariz. 621, 229 Pac. 391. Liberty bonds stolen from the plaintiff were brought by the thief, a boy fifteen years old, less than five feet tall, immature in appearance and bearing on his face the stamp a degenerate, to the defendants' clerk for sale. The boy stated that they belonged to his mother. The defendants paid the boy for the bonds without any further inquiry. Held, the plaintiff could recover the value of the bonds. The term 'bad faith' does not necessarily involve furtive motives, but means bad faith in a commercial sense. The manner in which the defendants conducted their Liberty Loan department provided an easy way for thieves to dispose of their plunder. It was a case of "no questions asked." Although gross negligence does not of itself constitute bad faith, it is evidence from which bad faith may be inferred. The circumstances thrust the duty upon the defendants to make further inquiries and they had no right to shut their eyes deliberately to obvious facts. Morris v. Muir, 111 Misc. Rep. 739, 181 N.Y. Supp. 913, affd. in memo., 191 App. Div. 947, 181 N.Y. Supp. 945." (pp. 640-642, Brannan's Negotiable Instruments Law, 6th ed.). The above considerations would seem sufficient to justify our ruling that plaintiff-appellee should not be allowed to recover the value of the check. Let us now examine the express provisions of the Negotiable Instruments Law pertinent to the matter to find if our ruling conforms thereto. Section 52 (c) provides that a holder in due course is one who takes the instrument "in good faith and for value;" Section 59, "that every holder is deemed prima facie to be a holder in due course;" and Section 52 (d), that in order that one may be a holder in due course it is necessary that "at the time the instrument was negotiated to him "he had no notice of any . . . defect in the title of the person negotiating it;" and lastly Section 59, that every holder is deemed prima facieto be a holder in due course. In the case at bar the rule that a possessor of the instrument is prima faciea holder in due course does not apply because there was a defect in the title of the holder (Manuel Gonzales), because the instrument is not payable to him or to bearer. On the other hand, the stipulation of facts indicated by the appellants in their brief, like the fact that the drawer had no account with the payee; that the holder did not show or tell the payee why he had the check in his possession and why he was using it for the payment of his own personal account show that holder's title was defective or suspicious, to say the least. As holder's title was defective or suspicious, it cannot be stated that the payee acquired the check without knowledge of said defect in holder's title, and for this reason the presumption that it is a holder in due course or that it acquired the instrument in good faith does not exist. And having presented no evidence that it acquired the check in good faith, it (payee) cannot be considered as a holder in due course. In other words, under the circumstances of the case, instead of the presumption that payee was a holder in good faith, the fact is that it acquired possession of the instrument under circumstances that should have put it to inquiry as to the title of the holder who negotiated the check to it. The burden was, therefore, placed upon it to show that notwithstanding the suspicious circumstances, it acquired the check in actual good faith. The rule applicable to the case at bar is that described in the case of Howard

National Bank v. Wilson, et al., 96 Vt. 438, 120 At. 889, 894, where the Supreme Court of Vermont made the following disquisition: Prior to the Negotiable Instruments Act, two distinct lines of cases had developed in this country. The first had its origin in Gill v. Cubitt, 3 B. & C. 466, 10 E. L. 215, where the rule was distinctly laid down by the court of King's Bench that the purchaser of negotiable paper must exercise reasonable prudence and caution, and that, if the circumstances were such as ought to have excited the suspicion of a prudent and careful man, and he made no inquiry, he did not stand in the legal position of a bona fide holder. The rule was adopted by the courts of this country generally and seem to have become a fixed rule in the law of negotiable paper. Later in Goodman v. Harvey, 4 A. & E. 870, 31 E. C. L. 381, the English court abandoned its former position and adopted the rule that nothing short of actual bad faith or fraud in the purchaser would deprive him of the character of a bona fide purchaser and let in defenses existing between prior parties, that no circumstances of suspicion merely, or want of proper caution in the purchaser, would have this effect, and that even gross negligence would have no effect, except as evidence tending to establish bad faith or fraud. Some of the American courts adhered to the earlier rule, while others followed the change inaugurated in Goodman v. Harvey. The question was before this court in Roth v. Colvin, 32 Vt. 125, and, on full consideration of the question, a rule was adopted in harmony with that announced in Gill v. Cubitt, which has been adhered to in subsequent cases, including those cited above. Stated briefly, one line of cases including our own had adopted the test of the reasonably prudent man and the other that of actual good faith. It would seem that it was the intent of the Negotiable Instruments Act to harmonize this disagreement by adopting the latter test. That such is the view generally accepted by the courts appears from a recent review of the cases concerning what constitutes notice of defect. Brannan on Neg. Ins. Law, 187-201. To effectuate the general purpose of the act to make uniform the Negotiable Instruments Law of those states which should enact it, we are constrained to hold (contrary to the rule adopted in our former decisions) that negligence on the part of the plaintiff, or suspicious circumstances sufficient to put a prudent man on inquiry, will not of themselves prevent a recovery, but are to be considered merely as evidence bearing on the question of bad faith. See G. L. 3113, 3172, where such a course is required in construing other uniform acts. It comes to this then: When the case has taken such shape that the plaintiff is called upon to prove himself a holder in due course to be entitled to recover, he is required to establish the conditions entitling him to standing as such, including good faith in taking the instrument. It devolves upon him to disclose the facts and circumstances attending the transfer, from which good or bad faith in the transaction may be inferred. In the case at bar as the payee acquired the check under circumstances which should have put it to inquiry, why the holder had the check and used it to pay his own personal account, the duty devolved upon it, plaintiff-appellee, to prove that it actually acquired said check in good faith. The stipulation of facts contains no statement of such good faith, hence we are forced to the conclusion that plaintiff payee has not proved that it acquired the check in good faith and may not be deemed a holder in due course thereof. For the foregoing considerations, the decision appealed from should be, as it is hereby, reversed, and the defendants are absolved from the complaint. With costs against plaintiff-appellee.

Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Paredes, Dizon and De Leon, JJ., concur. Bengzon, C.J., concurs in the result.

G.R. No. 138074. August 15, 2003 CELY YANG, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL INTERNATIONAL BANK, FAR EAST BANK & TRUST CO., EQUITABLE BANKING CORPORATION, PREM CHANDIRAMANI and FERNANDO DAVID, respondents. DECISION QUISUMBING, J.: For review on certiorari is the decision[1] of the Court of Appeals, dated March 25, 1999, in CA-G.R. CV No. 52398, which affirmed with modification the joint decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasay City, Branch 117, dated July 4, 1995, in Civil Cases Nos. 5479[2] and 5492.[3] The trial court dismissed the complaint against herein respondents Far East Bank & Trust Company (FEBTC), Equitable Banking Corporation (Equitable), and Philippine Commercial International Bank (PCIB) and ruled in favor of respondent Fernando David as to the proceeds of the two cashiers checks, including the earnings thereof pendente lite. Petitioner Cely Yang was ordered to pay David moral damages of P100,000.00 and attorneys fees also in the amount of P100,000.00. The facts of this case are not disputed, to wit: On or before December 22, 1987, petitioner Cely Yang and private respondent Prem Chandiramani entered into an agreement whereby the latter was to give Yang a PCIB managers check in the amount of P4.2 million in exchange for two (2) of Yangs managers checks, each in the amount of P2.087 million, both payable to the order of private respondent Fernando David. Yang and Chandiramani agreed that the difference of P26,000.00 in the exchange would be their profit to be divided equally between them. Yang and Chandiramani also further agreed that the former would secure from FEBTC a dollar draft in the amount of US$200,000.00, payable to PCIB FCDU Account No. 4195-01165-2, which Chandiramani would exchange for another dollar draft in the same amount to be issued by Hang Seng Bank Ltd. of Hong Kong. Accordingly, on December 22, 1987, Yang procured the following: a) Equitable Cashiers Check No. CCPS 14-009467 in the sum of P2,087,000.00, dated December 22, 1987, payable to the order of Fernando David; FEBTC Cashiers Check No. 287078, in the amount of P2,087,000.00, dated December 22, 1987, likewise payable to the order of Fernando David; and FEBTC Dollar Draft No. 4771, drawn on Chemical Bank, New York, in the amount of US$200,000.00, dated December 22, 1987, payable to PCIB FCDU Account No. 4195-01165-2.

who held FCDU Account No. 124 with the United Coconut Planters Bank branch in Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila. Chandiramani also deposited FEBTC Dollar Draft No. 4771, dated December 22, 1987, drawn upon the Chemical Bank, New York for US$200,000.00 in PCIB FCDU Account No. 419501165-2 on the same date. Meanwhile, Yang requested FEBTC and Equitable to stop payment on the instruments she believed to be lost. Both banks complied with her request, but upon the representation of PCIB, FEBTC subsequently lifted the stop payment order on FEBTC Dollar Draft No. 4771, thus enabling the holder of PCIB FCDU Account No. 4195-01165-2 to receive the amount of US$200,000.00. On December 28, 1987, herein petitioner Yang lodged a Complaint[4] for injunction and damages against Equitable, Chandiramani, and David, with prayer for a temporary restraining order, with the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City. The Complaint was docketed as Civil Case No. 5479. The Complaint was subsequently amended to include a prayer for Equitable to return to Yang the amount of P2.087 million, with interest thereon until fully paid.[5] On January 12, 1988, Yang filed a separate case for injunction and damages, with prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction against FEBTC, PCIB, Chandiramani and David, with the RTC of Pasay City, docketed as Civil Case No. 5492. This complaint was later amended to include a prayer that defendants therein return to Yang the amount of P2.087 million, the value of FEBTC Dollar Draft No. 4771, with interest at 18% annually until fully paid.[6] On February 9, 1988, upon the filing of a bond by Yang, the trial court issued a writ of preliminary injunction in Civil Case No. 5479. A writ of preliminary injunction was subsequently issued in Civil Case No. 5492 also. Meanwhile, herein respondent David moved for dismissal of the cases against him and for reconsideration of the Orders granting the writ of preliminary injunction, but these motions were denied. David then elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals in a special civil action for certiorari docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 14843, which was dismissed by the appellate court. As Civil Cases Nos. 5479 and 5492 arose from the same set of facts, the two cases were consolidated. The trial court then conducted pre-trial and trial of the two cases, but the proceedings had to be suspended after a fire gutted the Pasay City Hall and destroyed the records of the courts. After the records were reconstituted, the proceedings resumed and the parties agreed that the money in dispute be invested in Treasury Bills to be awarded in favor of the prevailing side. It was also agreed by the parties to limit the issues at the trial to the following: 1. Who, between David and Yang, is legally entitled to the proceeds of Equitable Banking Corporation (EBC) Cashiers Check No. CCPS 14-009467 in the sum of P2,087,000.00 dated December 22, 1987, and Far East Bank and Trust Company (FEBTC) Cashiers Check No. 287078 in the sum of P2,087,000.00 dated December 22, 1987, together with the earnings derived therefrom pendente lite? 2. Are the defendants FEBTC and PCIB solidarily liable to Yang for having allowed the encashment of FEBTC Dollar Draft No. 4771, in the sum of US$200,000.00 plus interest thereon despite the stop payment order of Cely Yang?[7] On July 4, 1995, the trial court handed down its decision in Civil Cases Nos. 5479 and 5492, to wit: WHEREFORE, the Court renders judgment in favor of defendant Fernando David against the plaintiff Cely Yang and declaring the former entitled to the proceeds of the two (2) cashiers checks, together with the earnings derived therefrom pendente lite; ordering the plaintiff to pay the defendant Fernando David moral damages in the amount of P100,000.00; attorneys fees in the amount of P100,000.00 and to pay the costs. The complaint against Far East Bank and Trust Company (FEBTC), Philippine Commercial International Bank (PCIB) and Equitable Banking Corporation (EBC) is dismissed. The decision is without prejudice to whatever action plaintiff Cely Yang will file against defendant Prem Chandiramani for reimbursement of the amounts received by him from defendant Fernando David. SO ORDERED.[8] In finding for David, the trial court ratiocinated: The evidence shows that defendant David was a holder in due course for the

b)

c)

At about one oclock in the afternoon of the same day, Yang gave the aforementioned cashiers checks and dollar drafts to her business associate, Albert Liong, to be delivered to Chandiramani by Liongs messenger, Danilo Ranigo. Ranigo was to meet Chandiramani at Philippine Trust Bank, Ayala Avenue, Makati City, Metro Manila where he would turn over Yangs cashiers checks and dollar draft to Chandiramani who, in turn, would deliver to Ranigo a PCIB managers check in the sum of P4.2 million and a Hang Seng Bank dollar draft for US$200,000.00 in exchange. Chandiramani did not appear at the rendezvous and Ranigo allegedly lost the two cashiers checks and the dollar draft bought by petitioner. Ranigo reported the alleged loss of the checks and the dollar draft to Liong at half past four in the afternoon of December 22, 1987. Liong, in turn, informed Yang, and the loss was then reported to the police. It transpired, however, that the checks and the dollar draft were not lost, for Chandiramani was able to get hold of said instruments, without delivering the exchange consideration consisting of the PCIB managers check and the Hang Seng Bank dollar draft. At three oclock in the afternoon or some two (2) hours after Chandiramani and Ranigo were to meet in Makati City, Chandiramani delivered to respondent Fernando David at China Banking Corporation branch in San Fernando City, Pampanga, the following: (a) FEBTC Cashiers Check No. 287078, dated December 22, 1987, in the sum of P2.087 million; and (b) Equitable Cashiers Check No. CCPS 14-009467, dated December 22, 1987, also in the amount of P2.087 million. In exchange, Chandiramani got US$360,000.00 from David, which Chandiramani deposited in the savings account of his wife, Pushpa Chandiramani; and his mother, Rani Reynandas,

reason that the cashiers checks were complete on their face when they were negotiated to him. They were not yet overdue when he became the holder thereof and he had no notice that said checks were previously dishonored; he took the cashiers checks in good faith and for value. He parted some $200,000.00 for the two (2) cashiers checks which were given to defendant Chandiramani; he had also no notice of any infirmity in the cashiers checks or defect in the title of the drawer. As a matter of fact, he asked the manager of the China Banking Corporation to inquire as to the genuineness of the cashiers checks (tsn, February 5, 1988, p. 21, September 20, 1991, pp. 1314). Another proof that defendant David is a holder in due course is the fact that the stop payment order on [the] FEBTC cashiers check was lifted upon his inquiry at the head office (tsn, September 20, 1991, pp. 24-25). The apparent reason for lifting the stop payment order was because of the fact that FEBTC realized that the checks were not actually lost but indeed reached the payee defendant David.[9] Yang then moved for reconsideration of the RTC judgment, but the trial court denied her motion in its Order of September 20, 1995. In the belief that the trial court misunderstood the concept of a holder in due course and misapprehended the factual milieu, Yang seasonably filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals, docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 52398. On March 25, 1999, the appellate court decided CA-G.R. CV No. 52398 in this wise: WHEREFORE, this court AFFIRMS the judgment of the lower court with modification and hereby orders the plaintiff-appellant to pay defendantappellant PCIB the amount of Twenty-Five Thousand Pesos (P25,000.00). SO ORDERED.[10] In affirming the trial courts judgment with respect to herein respondent David, the appellate court found that: In this case, defendant-appellee had taken the necessary precautions to verify, through his bank, China Banking Corporation, the genuineness of whether (sic) the cashiers checks he received from Chandiramani. As no stop payment order was made yet (at) the time of the inquiry, defendant-appellee had no notice of what had transpired earlier between the plaintiff-appellant and Chandiramani. All he knew was that the checks were issued to Chandiramani with whom he was he had (sic) a transaction. Further on, David received the checks in question in due course because Chandiramani, who at the time the checks were delivered to David, was acting as Yangs agent. David had no notice, real or constructive, cogent for him to make further inquiry as to any infirmity in the instrument(s) and defect of title of the holder. To mandate that each holder inquire about every aspect on how the instrument came about will unduly impede commercial transactions, Although negotiable instruments do not constitute legal tender, they often take the place of money as a means of payment. The mere fact that David and Chandiramani knew one another for a long time is not sufficient to establish that they connived with each other to defraud Yang. There was no concrete proof presented by Yang to support her theory.[11] The appellate court awarded P25,000.00 in attorneys fees to PCIB as it found the action filed by Yang against said bank to be clearly unfounded and baseless. Since PCIB was compelled to litigate to protect itself, then it was entitled under Article 2208[12] of the Civil Code to attorneys fees and litigation expenses. Hence, the instant recourse wherein petitioner submits the following issues for resolution: abWHETHER THE CHECKS WERE ISSUED TO PREM CHANDIRAMANI BY PETITIONER; WHETHER THE ALLEGED TRANSACTION BETWEEN PREM CHANDIRAMANI AND FERNANDO DAVID IS LEGITIMATE OR A SCHEME BY BOTH PRIVATE RESPONDENTS TO SWINDLE PETITIONER; WHETHER FERNANDO DAVID GAVE PREM CHANDIRAMANI US$360,000.00 OR JUST A FRACTION OF THE AMOUNT REPRESENTING HIS SHARE OF THE LOOT; WHETHER PRIVATE RESPONDENTS FERNANDO DAVID AND PCIB ARE ENTITLED TO DAMAGES AND ATTORNEYS FEES.[13]

At the outset, we must stress that this is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. It is basic that in petitions for review under Rule 45, the jurisdiction of this Court is limited to reviewing questions of law, questions of fact are not entertained absent a showing that the factual findings complained of are totally devoid of support in the record or are glaringly erroneous.[14] Given the facts in the instant case, despite petitioners formulation, we find that the following are the pertinent issues to be resolved: a) Whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding herein respondent Fernando David to be a holder in due course; and Whether the appellate court committed a reversible error in awarding damages and attorneys fees to David and PCIB.

b)

On the first issue, petitioner Yang contends that private respondent Fernando David is not a holder in due course of the checks in question. While it is true that he was named the payee thereof, David failed to inquire from Chandiramani about how the latter acquired possession of said checks. Given his failure to do so, it cannot be said that David was unaware of any defect or infirmity in the title of Chandiramani to the checks at the time of their negotiation. Moreover, inasmuch as the checks were crossed, then David should have, pursuant to our ruling in Bataan Cigar & Cigarette Factory, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 93048, March 3, 1994, 230 SCRA 643, been put on guard that the checks were issued for a definite purpose and accordingly, made inquiries to determine if he received the checks pursuant to that purpose. His failure to do so negates the finding in the proceedings below that he was a holder in due course. Finally, the petitioner argues that there is no showing whatsoever that David gave Chandiramani any consideration of value in exchange for the aforementioned checks. Private respondent Fernando David counters that the evidence on record shows that when he received the checks, he verified their genuineness with his bank, and only after said verification did he deposit them. David stresses that he had no notice of previous dishonor or any infirmity that would have aroused his suspicions, the instruments being complete and regular upon their face. David stresses that the checks in question were cashiers checks. From the very nature of cashiers checks, it is highly unlikely that he would have suspected that something was amiss. David also stresses negotiable instruments are presumed to have been issued for valuable consideration, and he who alleges otherwise must controvert the presumption with sufficient evidence. The petitioner failed to discharge this burden, according to David. He points out that the checks were delivered to him as the payee, and he took them as holder and payee thereof. Clearly, he concludes, he should be deemed to be their holder in due course. We shall now resolve the first issue. Every holder of a negotiable instrument is deemed prima facie a holder in due course. However, this presumption arises only in favor of a person who is a holder as defined in Section 191 of the Negotiable Instruments Law,[15] meaning a payee or indorsee of a bill or note, who is in possession of it, or the bearer thereof. In the present case, it is not disputed that David was the payee of the checks in question. The weight of authority sustains the view that a payee may be a holder in due course.[16] Hence, the presumption that he is a prima facie holder in due course applies in his favor. However, said presumption may be rebutted. Hence, what is vital to the resolution of this issue is whether David took possession of the checks under the conditions provided for in Section 52[17] of the Negotiable Instruments Law. All the requisites provided for in Section 52 must concur in Davids case, otherwise he cannot be deemed a holder in due course. We find that the petitioners challenge to Davids status as a holder in due course hinges on two arguments: (1) the lack of proof to show that David tendered any valuable consideration for the disputed checks; and (2) Davids failure to inquire from Chandiramani as to how the latter acquired possession of the checks, thus resulting in Davids intentional ignorance tantamount to bad faith. In sum, petitioner posits that the last two requisites of Section 52 are missing, thereby preventing David from being considered a holder in due course. Unfortunately for the petitioner, her arguments on this score are less than meritorious and far from persuasive. First, with respect to consideration, Section 24[18] of the Negotiable Instruments Law creates a presumption that every party to an instrument acquired the same for a consideration[19] or for value.[20] Thus, the law itself creates a presumption in Davids favor that he gave valuable consideration for

c-

d-

the checks in question. In alleging otherwise, the petitioner has the onus to prove that David got hold of the checks absent said consideration. In other words, the petitioner must present convincing evidence to overthrow the presumption. Our scrutiny of the records, however, shows that the petitioner failed to discharge her burden of proof. The petitioners averment that David did not give valuable consideration when he took possession of the checks is unsupported, devoid of any concrete proof to sustain it. Note that both the trial court and the appellate court found that David did not receive the checks gratis, but instead gave Chandiramani US$360,000.00 as consideration for the said instruments. Factual findings of the Court of Appeals are conclusive on the parties and not reviewable by this Court; they carry great weight when the factual findings of the trial court are affirmed by the appellate court.[21] Second, petitioner fails to point any circumstance which should have put David on inquiry as to the why and wherefore of the possession of the checks by Chandiramani. David was not privy to the transaction between petitioner and Chandiramani. Instead, Chandiramani and David had a separate dealing in which it was precisely Chandiramanis duty to deliver the checks to David as payee. The evidence shows that Chandiramani performed said task to the letter. Petitioner admits that David took the step of asking the manager of his bank to verify from FEBTC and Equitable as to the genuineness of the checks and only accepted the same after being assured that there was nothing wrong with said checks. At that time, David was not aware of any stop payment order. Under these circumstances, David thus had no obligation to ascertain from Chandiramani what the nature of the latters title to the checks was, if any, or the nature of his possession. Thus, we cannot hold him guilty of gross neglect amounting to legal absence of good faith, absent any showing that there was something amiss about Chandiramanis acquisition or possession of the checks. David did not close his eyes deliberately to the nature or the particulars of a fraud allegedly committed by Chandiramani upon the petitioner, absent any knowledge on his part that the action in taking the instruments amounted to bad faith.[22] Belatedly, and we say belatedly since petitioner did not raise this matter in the proceedings below, petitioner now claims that David should have been put on alert as the instruments in question were crossed checks. Pursuant to Bataan Cigar & Cigarette Factory, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, David should at least have inquired as to whether he was acquiring said checks for the purpose for which they were issued, according to petitioners submission. Petitioners reliance on the Bataan Cigar case, however, is misplaced. The facts in the present case are not on all fours with Bataan Cigar. In the latter case, the crossed checks were negotiated and sold at a discount by the payee, while in the instant case, the payee did not negotiate further the checks in question but promptly deposited them in his bank account. The Negotiable Instruments Law is silent with respect to crossed checks, although the Code of Commerce[23] makes reference to such instruments. Nonetheless, this Court has taken judicial cognizance of the practice that a check with two parallel lines in the upper left hand corner means that it could only be deposited and not converted into cash.[24] The effects of crossing a check, thus, relates to the mode of payment, meaning that the drawer had intended the check for deposit only by the rightful person, i.e., the payee named therein. In Bataan Cigar, the rediscounting of the check by the payee knowingly violated the avowed intention of crossing the check. Thus, in accepting the cross checks and paying cash for them, despite the warning of the crossing, the subsequent holder could not be considered in good faith and thus, not a holder in due course. Our ruling in Bataan Cigar reiterates that in De Ocampo & Co. v. Gatchalian.[25] The factual circumstances in De Ocampo and in Bataan Cigar are not present in this case. For here, there is no dispute that the crossed checks were delivered and duly deposited by David, the payee named therein, in his bank account. In other words, the purpose behind the crossing of the checks was satisfied by the payee. Proceeding to the issue of damages, petitioner merely argues that respondents David and PCIB are not entitled to damages, attorneys fees, and costs of suit as both acted in bad faith towards her, as shown by her version of the facts which gave rise to the instant case. Respondent David counters that he was maliciously and unceremoniously dragged into this suit for reasons which have nothing to do with him at all, but which arose from petitioners failure to receive her share of the profit promised her by Chandiramani. Moreover, in filing this suit which has lasted for over a decade now, the petitioner deprived David of the rightful enjoyment of the two checks, to which he is entitled, under the law, compelled him to hire the services of counsel to vindicate his rights, and subjected him to social humiliation and besmirched reputation, thus harming his standing as a person of good repute in the business community of Pampanga. David thus

contends that it is but proper that moral damages, attorneys fees, and costs of suit be awarded him. For its part, respondent PCIB stresses that it was established by both the trial court and the appellate court that it was needlessly dragged into this case. Hence, no error was committed by the appellate court in declaring PCIB entitled to attorneys fees as it was compelled to litigate to protect itself. We have thoroughly perused the records of this case and find no reason to disagree with the finding of the trial court, as affirmed by the appellate court, that: [D]efendant David is entitled to [the] award of moral damages as he has been needlessly and unceremoniously dragged into this case which should have been brought only between the plaintiff and defendant Chandiramani.[26] A careful reading of the findings of facts made by both the trial court and appellate court clearly shows that the petitioner, in including David as a party in these proceedings, is barking up the wrong tree. It is apparent from the factual findings that David had no dealings with the petitioner and was not privy to the agreement of the latter with Chandiramani. Moreover, any loss which the petitioner incurred was apparently due to the acts or omissions of Chandiramani, and hence, her recourse should have been against him and not against David. By needlessly dragging David into this case all because he and Chandiramani knew each other, the petitioner not only unduly delayed David from obtaining the value of the checks, but also caused him anxiety and injured his business reputation while waiting for its outcome. Recall that under Article 2217[27] of the Civil Code, moral damages include mental anguish, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, social humiliation, and similar injury. Hence, we find the award of moral damages to be in order. The appellate court likewise found that like David, PCIB was dragged into this case on unfounded and baseless grounds. Both were thus compelled to litigate to protect their interests, which makes an award of attorneys fees justified under Article 2208 (2)[28] of the Civil Code. Hence, we rule that the award of attorneys fees to David and PCIB was proper. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The assailed decision of the Court of Appeals, dated March 25, 1999, in CA-G.R. CV No. 52398 is AFFIRMED. Costs against the petitioner. SO ORDERED.

Bellosillo, (Chairman), Austria-Martinez, and Tinga, JJ., concur. Callejo, Sr., J., on leave.

G.R. No. 70145 November 13, 1986 MARCELO A. MESINA, petitioner, vs.THE HONORABLE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, HON. ARSENIO M. GONONG, in his capacity as Judge of Regional Trial Court Manila (Branch VIII), JOSE GO, and ALBERT UY, respondents. PARAS, J.: This is an appeal by certiorari from the decision of the then Intermediate Appellate Court (IAC for short), now the Court of Appeals (CA) in AC-G.R. S.P. 04710, dated Jan. 22, 1985, which dismissed the petition for certiorari and prohibition filed by Marcelo A. Mesina against the trial court in Civil Case No. 84-22515. Said case (an Interpleader) was filed by Associated Bank against Jose Go and Marcelo A. Mesina regarding their conflicting claims over Associated Bank Cashier's Check No. 011302 for P800,000.00, dated December 29, 1983. Briefly, the facts and statement of the case are as follows: Respondent Jose Go, on December 29, 1983, purchased from Associated Bank Cashier's Check No. 011302 for P800,000.00. Unfortunately, Jose Go left said check on the top of the desk of the bank manager when he left the bank. The bank manager entrusted the check for safekeeping to a bank official, a certain Albert Uy, who had then a visitor in the person of Alexander Lim. Uy had to answer a phone call on a nearby telephone after which he proceeded to the men's room. When he returned to his desk, his visitor Lim was already gone. When Jose Go inquired for his cashier's check from Albert Uy, the check was not in his folder and nowhere to be found. The latter advised Jose Go to go to the bank to accomplish a "STOP PAYMENT" order, which suggestion Jose Go immediately followed. He also executed an affidavit of loss. Albert Uy went to the police to report the loss of the check, pointing to the person of Alexander Lim as the one who could shed light on it. The records of the police show that Associated Bank received the lost check for clearing on December 31, 1983, coming from Prudential Bank, Escolta Branch. The check was immediately dishonored by Associated Bank by sending it back to Prudential Bank, with the words "Payment Stopped" stamped on it. However, the same was again returned to Associated Bank on January 4, 1984 and for the second time it was dishonored. Several days later, respondent Associated Bank received a letter, dated January 9, 1984, from a certain Atty. Lorenzo Navarro demanding payment on the cashier's check in question, which was being held by his client. He however refused to reveal the name of his client and threatened to sue, if payment is not made. Respondent bank, in its letter, dated January 20, 1984, replied saying the check belonged to Jose Go who lost it in the bank and is laying claim to it. On February 1, 1984, police sent a letter to the Manager of the Prudential Bank, Escolta Branch, requesting assistance in Identifying the person who tried to encash the check but said bank refused saying that it had to protect its client's interest and the Identity could only be revealed with the client's conformity. Unsure of what to do on the matter, respondent Associated Bank on February 2, 1984 filed an action for Interpleader naming as respondent, Jose Go and one John Doe, Atty. Navarro's then unnamed client. On even date, respondent bank received summons and copy of the complaint for damages of a certain Marcelo A. Mesina from the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Caloocan City filed on January 23, 1984 bearing the number C-11139. Respondent bank moved to amend its complaint, having been notified for the first time of the name of Atty. Navarro's client and substituted Marcelo A. Mesina for John Doe. Simultaneously, respondent bank, thru representative Albert Uy, informed Cpl. Gimao of the Western Police District that the lost check of Jose Go is in the possession of Marcelo Mesina, herein petitioner. When Cpl. Gimao went to Marcelo Mesina to ask how he came to possess the check, he said it was paid to him by Alexander Lim in a "certain transaction" but refused to elucidate further. An information for theft (Annex J) was instituted against Alexander Lim and the corresponding warrant for his arrest was issued (Annex 6-A) which up to the date of the filing of this instant petition remains unserved because of Alexander Lim's successful evation thereof. Meanwhile, Jose Go filed his answer on February 24, 1984 in the Interpleader Case and moved to participate as intervenor in the complain for damages. Albert Uy filed a motion of intervention and answer in the complaint for Interpleader. On the Scheduled date of pretrial conference inthe interpleader case, it was disclosed that the "John Doe" impleaded as one of the defendants is actually petitioner Marcelo A. Mesina. Petitioner instead of filing his answer to the complaint in the interpleader filed on May 17, 1984 an Omnibus Motion to Dismiss Ex Abudante Cautela alleging lack of jurisdiction in view of the absence of an order to litigate, failure to state a cause of action and lack of personality to sue. Respondent bank in the other civil case (CC-11139) for damages moved to dismiss suit in view of the existence already of the

Interpleader case. The trial court in the interpleader case issued an order dated July 13, 1984, denying the motion to dismiss of petitioner Mesina and ruling that respondent bank's complaint sufficiently pleaded a cause of action for itnerpleader. Petitioner filed his motion for reconsideration which was denied by the trial court on September 26, 1984. Upon motion for respondent Jose Go dated October 31, 1984, respondent judge issued an order on November 6, 1984, declaring petitioner in default since his period to answer has already expirecd and set the ex-parte presentation of respondent bank's evidence on November 7, 1984. Petitioner Mesina filed a petition for certioari with preliminary injunction with IAC to set aside 1) order of respondent court denying his omnibus Motion to Dismiss 2) order of 3) the order of default against him. On January 22, 1985, IAC rendered its decision dimissing the petition for certiorari. Petitioner Mesina filed his Motion for Reconsideration which was also denied by the same court in its resolution dated February 18, 1985. Meanwhile, on same date (February 18, 1985), the trial court in Civil Case #84-22515 (Interpleader) rendered a decisio, the dispositive portion reading as follows: WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered ordering plaintiff Associate Bank to replace Cashier's Check No. 011302 in favor of Jose Go or its cas equivalent with legal rate of itnerest from date of complaint, and with costs of suit against the latter. SO ORDERED. On March 29, 1985, the trial court in Civil Case No. C-11139, for damages, issued an order, the pertinent portion of which states: The records of this case show that on August 20, 1984 proceedings in this case was (were) ordered suspended because the main issue in Civil Case No. 84-22515 and in this instant case are the same which is: who between Marcelo Mesina and Jose Go is entitled to payment of Associated Bank's Cashier's Check No. CC-011302? Said issue having been resolved already in Civil casde No. 84-22515, really this instant case has become moot and academic. WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the motion sholud be as it is hereby granted and this case is ordered dismissed. In view of the foregoing ruling no more action should be taken on the "Motion For Reconsideration (of the order admitting the Intervention)" dated June 21, 1984 as well as the Motion For Reconsideration dated September 10, 1984. SO ORDERED. Petitioner now comes to Us, alleging that: 1. IAC erred in ruling that a cashier's check can be countermanded even in the hands of a holder in due course. 2. IAC erred in countenancing the filing and maintenance of an interpleader suit by a party who had earlier been sued on the same claim. 3. IAC erred in upholding the trial court's order declaring petitioner as in default when there was no proper order for him to plead in the interpleader complaint. 4. IAC went beyond the scope of its certiorari jurisdiction by making findings of facts in advance of trial. Petitioner now interposes the following prayer: 1. Reverse the decision of the IAC, dated January 22, 1985 and set aside the February 18, 1985 resolution denying the Motion for Reconsideration. 2. Annul the orders of respondent Judge of RTC Manila giving due course to the interpleader suit and declaring petitioner in default. Petitioner's allegations hold no water. Theories and examples advanced by petitioner on causes and effects of a cashier's check such as 1) it cannot be countermanded in the hands of a holder in due course and 2) a cashier's check is a bill of exchange drawn by the bank against itself-are general principles which cannot be aptly applied to the case at bar, without considering other things. Petitioner failed to substantiate his claim that he is a holder in due course and for consideration or value as shown by the established facts of the case. Admittedly, petitioner became the holder of the cashier's check as endorsed by Alexander Lim who stole the check. He refused to say how and why it was passed to him. He had therefore notice of the defect of his title over the check from the start. The holder of a cashier's

check who is not a holder in due course cannot enforce such check against the issuing bank which dishonors the same. If a payee of a cashier's check obtained it from the issuing bank by fraud, or if there is some other reason why the payee is not entitled to collect the check, the respondent bank would, of course, have the right to refuse payment of the check when presented by the payee, since respondent bank was aware of the facts surrounding the loss of the check in question. Moreover, there is no similarity in the cases cited by petitioner since respondent bank did not issue the cashier's check in payment of its obligation. Jose Go bought it from respondent bank for purposes of transferring his funds from respondent bank to another bank near his establishment realizing that carrying money in this form is safer than if it were in cash. The check was Jose Go's property when it was misplaced or stolen, hence he stopped its payment. At the outset, respondent bank knew it was Jose Go's check and no one else since Go had not paid or indorsed it to anyone. The bank was therefore liable to nobody on the check but Jose Go. The bank had no intention to issue it to petitioner but only to buyer Jose Go. When payment on it was therefore stopped, respondent bank was not the one who did it but Jose Go, the owner of the check. Respondent bank could not be drawer and drawee for clearly, Jose Go owns the money it represents and he is therefore the drawer and the drawee in the same manner as if he has a current account and he issued a check against it; and from the moment said cashier's check was lost and/or stolen no one outside of Jose Go can be termed a holder in due course because Jose Go had not indorsed it in due course. The check in question suffers from the infirmity of not having been properly negotiated and for value by respondent Jose Go who as already been said is the real owner of said instrument. In his second assignment of error, petitioner stubbornly insists that there is no showing of conflicting claims and interpleader is out of the question. There is enough evidence to establish the contrary. Considering the aforementioned facts and circumstances, respondent bank merely took the necessary precaution not to make a mistake as to whom to pay and therefore interpleader was its proper remedy. It has been shown that the interpleader suit was filed by respondent bank because petitioner and Jose Go were both laying their claims on the check, petitioner asking payment thereon and Jose Go as the purchaser or owner. The allegation of petitioner that respondent bank had effectively relieved itself of its primary liability under the check by simply filing a complaint for interpleader is belied by the willingness of respondent bank to issue a certificate of time deposit in the amount of P800,000 representing the cashier's check in question in the name of the Clerk of Court of Manila to be awarded to whoever wig be found by the court as validly entitled to it. Said validity will depend on the strength of the parties' respective rights and titles thereto. Bank filed the interpleader suit not because petitioner sued it but because petitioner is laying claim to the same check that Go is claiming. On the very day that the bank instituted the case in interpleader, it was not aware of any suit for damages filed by petitioner against it as supported by the fact that the interpleader case was first entitled Associated Bank vs. Jose Go and John Doe, but later on changed to Marcelo A. Mesina for John Doe when his name became known to respondent bank. In his third assignment of error, petitioner assails the then respondent IAC in upholding the trial court's order declaring petitioner in default when there was no proper order for him to plead in the interpleader case. Again, such contention is untenable. The trial court issued an order, compelling petitioner and respondent Jose Go to file their Answers setting forth their respective claims. Subsequently, a Pre-Trial Conference was set with notice to parties to submit position papers. Petitioner argues in his memorandum that this order requiring petitioner to file his answer was issued without jurisdiction alleging that since he is presumably a holder in due course and for value, how can he be compelled to litigate against Jose Go who is not even a party to the check? Such argument is trite and ridiculous if we have to consider that neither his name or Jose Go's name appears on the check. Following such line of argument, petitioner is not a party to the check either and therefore has no valid claim to the Check. Furthermore, the Order of the trial court requiring the parties to file their answers is to all intents and purposes an order to interplead, substantially and essentially and therefore in compliance with the provisions of Rule 63 of the Rules of Court. What else is the purpose of a law suit but to litigate? The records of the case show that respondent bank had to resort to details in support of its action for Interpleader. Before it resorted to Interpleader, respondent bank took an precautionary and necessary measures to bring out the truth. On the other hand, petitioner concealed the circumstances known to him and now that private respondent bank brought these circumstances out in court (which eventually rendered its decision in the light of these facts), petitioner charges it with "gratuitous excursions into these non-issues." Respondent IAC cannot rule on whether respondent RTC committed an abuse of discretion or not, without being apprised of the facts and reasons why respondent Associated Bank instituted the Interpleader case. Both parties

were given an opportunity to present their sides. Petitioner chose to withhold substantial facts. Respondents were not forbidden to present their side-this is the purpose of the Comment of respondent to the petition. IAC decided the question by considering both the facts submitted by petitioner and those given by respondents. IAC did not act therefore beyond the scope of the remedy sought in the petition. WHEREFORE, finding that the instant petition is merely dilatory, the same is hereby denied and the assailed orders of the respondent court are hereby AFFIRMED in toto. SO ORDERED.