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Phil Banking Group vs CA

G.R. No. 97626, March 14, 1997

Maderazo, Timothy Mark, G.

FACTS:

Rommel’s Marketing Corporation (RMC) maintained two separate current accounts with
PBC in connection with its business of selling appliances. The RMC General Manager
Lipana entrusted to his secretary, Irene Yabut, RMC funds amounting to P300,000+ for
the purpose of depositing the same to RMC’s account with PBC. However, it turned out
that Yabut deposited the amounts in her husband’s account instead of RMC. Lipana
never checked his monthly statement of accounts regularly furnished by PBC so that
Yabut’s modus operandi went on for the span of more than one year.

ISSUE:

What is the proximate cause of the loss? Is it the bank’s negligence or the depositor’s
negligence?

HELD:

The bank teller was negligent in validating, officially stamping and signing all the deposit
slips prepared and presented by Yabut, despite the glaring fact that the duplicate copy
was not completely accomplished contrary to the self-imposed procedure of the bank
with respect to the proper validation of deposit slips, original or duplicate.

The bank teller’s negligence, as well as the negligence of the bank in the selection and
supervision of its bank teller, is the proximate cause of the loss suffered by the private
respondent, not the latter’s entrusting cash to a dishonest employee. Xxx Even if Yabut
had the fraudulent intention to misappropriate the funds, she would not have been able
to deposit those funds in her husband’s current account, and then make plaintiff believe
that it was in the latter’s accounts wherein she had deposited them, had it not been for
the bank teller’s aforesaid gross and reckless negligence.

Doctrine:

Doctrine of Last Clear Chance – where both parties are negligent, but the negligent act of
one is appreciably later in time than that of the other, or when it is impossible to
determine whose fault or negligence should be attributed to the incident, the one who
had the last clear opportunity to avoid the impending harm and failed to do so is
chargeable with the consequences thereof. It means that the antecedent negligence of
a person does not preclude the recovery of damages for the supervening negligence of,
or bar a defense against liability sought by another, if the latter, who had the last fair
chance, could have avoided the impending harm by exercise of due diligence. (Phil.
Bank of Commerce v. CA, supra)