Republic of the Philippines
G.R. No. 92244 February 9, 1993
NATIVIDAD GEMPESAW, petitioner,
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and PHILIPPINE BANK OF COMMUNICATIONS, respondents. L.B. Camins for petitioner.
Angara, Abello, Concepcion, Regals & Cruz for private respondent
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 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...
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