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RCBC v ODRADA

FACTS:
Odrada sold a second-hand Mitsubishi Montero to Lim. Lim obtained an auto-loan in RCBC.
After initial payment, Odrada executed a Deed of Absolute Sale to Lim while Lim took
possession of the car. RCBC delivered Managers checks to Odrada however prior to that,
Lim informed Odrada about the roadworthinesss of the car. Lim requested Odrada to not
deposit the managers checks. Odrada did not heed. He deposited said checks. The checks
were consequently dishonoured upon Lims instruction to RCBC. Because of the dishonour,
Odrada filed a collection case against both Lim and RCBC. Lim countered that the
cancellation was not done ex parte but thru a letter. RCBC contended that the dishonour
was due to Lims cancellation of the auto loan.

The RTC ruled in favour of Odrada. It held that the proper party who can ask for the
rescission in the case is Odrada, not Lim, since the former had already complied with his
undertaking under the contract, while Lim failed to pay the payment. The defective condition
of the Montero was not a supervening event that would justify the dishonour of the checks,
which is equivalent to cash, and maybe treated as a promissory note with the bank as maker.
The bank being the party primarily liable for the check, the court ruled that RCBC was liable
to Odrada for the value of the managers checks.
Both Lim and RCBC appealed to the CA, which however denied their appeal. It ruled that
the two managers checks, which were complete and regular, reached the hands of Lim who
deposited the same in his bank account with Ibank. RCBC knew that the amount reflected on
the managers checks represented Lims payment for the remaining balance of the Monteros
purchase price. The appellate court held that when RCBC issued the managers checks in
favor of Odrada, RCBC admitted the existence of the payee and his then capacity to endorse,
and undertook that on due presentment the checks which were negotiable instruments would
be accepted or paid, or both according to its tenor. The appellate court held that the effective
delivery of the checks to Odrada made RCBC liable for the checks. It negated RCBCs
defense of want of consideration, finding Odrada a holder in due course of the managers
checks.
ISSUE:
Whether RCBC may refuse to pay said managers checks
HELD:
YES.

We address the legal question of whether or not the drawee bank of a managers check has
the option of refusing payment by interposing a personal defense of the purchaser of the
managers check who delivered the check to a third party.
In resolving this legal question, this Court will examine the nature of a managers check and
its relation to personal defenses under the Negotiable Instruments Law.
Jurisprudence defines a managers check as a check drawn by the banks manager upon the
bank itself and accepted in advance by the bank by the act of its issuance. It is really the

banks own check and may be treated as a promissory note with the bank as its maker.
Consequently, upon its purchase, the check becomes the primary obligation of the bank and
constitutes its written promise to pay the holder upon demand. It is similar to a cashiers
check both as to effect and use in that the bank represents that the check is drawn against
sufficient funds.
As a general rule, the drawee bank is not liable until it accepts. Prior to a bills acceptance, no
contractual relation exists between the holder and the drawee. Acceptance, therefore, creates
a privity of contract between the holder and the drawee so much so that the latter, once it
accepts, becomes the party primarily liable on the instrument. Accordingly, acceptance is the
act which triggers the operation of the liabilities of the drawee (acceptor) under Section 62 of
the Negotiable Instruments Law. Thus, once he accepts, the drawee admits the following: (a)
existence of the drawer; (b) genuineness of the drawers signature; (c) capacity and authority
of the drawer to draw the instrument; and (d) existence of the payee and his then capacity to
endorse.
As can be gleaned in a long line of cases decided by this Court, a managers check is
accepted by the bank upon its issuance. As compared to an ordinary bill of exchange where
acceptance occurs after the bill is presented to the drawee, the distinct feature of a managers
check is that it is accepted in advance. Notably, the mere issuance of a managers check
creates a privity of contract between the holder and the drawee bank, the latter primarily
binding itself to pay according to the tenor of its acceptance.
The drawee bank, as a result, has the unconditional obligation to pay a managers check to a
holder in due course irrespective of any available personal defenses. However, while this
Court has consistently held that a managers check is automatically accepted, a holder other
than a holder in due course is still subject to defences such as if the check had become
stale, there is no bad faith or neglicence for the bank to refuse to pay (International
Corporate Bank v. Spouses Gueco) or if there is lack of delivery (Rizal Commercial Banking
Corporation v. Hi-Tri Development Corporation).
We now address the main legal question: if the holder of a managers check is not a holder in
due course, can the drawee bank interpose a personal defense of the purchaser?
See Mesina v. Intermediate Appellate Court and United Coconut Planters Bank v.
Intermediate Appellate Court .
The foregoing rulings clearly establish that the drawee bank of a managers check may
interpose personal defenses of the purchaser of the managers check if the holder is not
a holder in due course. In short, the purchaser of a managers check may validly
countermand payment to a holder who is not a holder in due course. Accordingly, the
drawee bank may refuse to pay the managers check by interposing a personal defense
of the purchaser. Hence, the resolution of the present case requires a determination of
the status of Odrada as holder of the managers checks.

In this case, the Court of Appeals gravely erred when it considered Odrada as a holder in due
course. Section 52 of the Negotiable Instruments Law defines a holder in due course as one
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 has 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. (Emphasis supplied)
To be a holder in due course, the law requires that a party must have acquired the instrument
in good faith and for value.
Good faith means that the person taking the instrument has acted with due honesty with
regard to the rights of the parties liable on the instrument and that at the time he,took the
instrument, the holder has no knowledge of any defect or infirmity of the instrument. 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
would amount to bad faith.
Value, on the other hand, is defined as any consideration sufficient to support a simple
contract.
In the present case, Odrada attempted to deposit the managers checks on 16 April 2002, a
day after Lim had informed him that there was a serious problem with the Montero. Instead
of addressing the issue, Odrada decided to deposit the managers checks. Odradas actions do
not amount to good faith. Clearly, Odrada failed to make an inquiry even when the
circumstances strongly indicated that there arose, at the very least, a partial failure of
consideration due to the hidden defects of the Montero. Odradas action in depositing the
managers checks despite knowledge of the Monteros defects amounted to bad faith.
Moreover, when Odrada redeposited the managers checks on 19 April 2002, he was already
formally notified by RCBC the previous day of the cancellation of Lims auto loan
transaction. Following UCPB, RCBC may refuse payment by interposing a personal defense
of Lim that the title of Odrada had become defective when there arose a partial failure or
lack of consideration.
RCBC acted in good faith in following the instructions of Lim. The records show that
Lim notified RCBC of the defective condition of the Montero before Odrada presented
the managers checks. Lim informed RCBC of the hidden defects of the Montero
including a misaligned engine, smashed condenser, crippled bumper support, and

defective transmission. RCBC also received a formal notice of cancellation of the auto
loan from Lim and this prompted RCBC to cancel the managers checks since the auto
loan was the consideration for issuing the managers checks. RCBC acted in good faith
in stopping the payment of the managers checks.