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G.R. No.

112576 October 26, 1994 plaintiffs, explaining the circumstances that gave rise to the
(CA-GR CV No. 26571) bouncing checks situation. Metrobank's negligence arising
from their messenger's misrouting of the credit advice resulting
METROPOLITAN BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, petitioner, in the return of the checks in question, despite daily reporting
vs. of credit memos and a corresponding daily radio message
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS, RURAL BANK OF PADRE confirmation, and Mr. Dungo's improper handling of clients led
GARCIA, INC. and ISABEL R. KATIGBAK, respondents. to the messenger's dismissal from service and Mr. Dungo's
transfer from Metro Manila to Mindoro.
FACTS:
Katigbak is the president and director of RBPG, while MBTC is RTC: in favour of plaintiff; defendant is ordered to pay
the rural bank's depository bank, where Katigbak maintains temperate(50k), moral(500k), including attorney's fees,
current accounts. litigation expenses and the costs of the suit(100k); did not
award actual damages in the amount of P50,000.00
April 6, 1982, MBTC received from the CB a credit memo representing the amount of the two (2) checks payable to Dr.
dated April 5, 1982 that its demand deposit account was Felipe C. Roque and Mrs. Elisa Roque.
credited with P304,000.00 for the account of RBPG, CA: delete temperate damages, reduce moral(50k-RBPC;
representing loans granted by the Central Bank to RBPG. 100k-Katigbak); atty’s fees(50k)

Katigbak issued several checks in the total amount of ISSUE: Whether RBPG and Rodriguez are legally entitled to
P300,000.00, payable to Dr. Felipe and Mrs. Eliza Roque for moral damages and attorney's fees – YES
P25,000.00 each.

Dr. and Mrs. Roque deposited the checks with PBC, but the HELD:
checks were returned by MBTC with the annotations "DAIF — There is no merit in petitioner's argument that it should not be
TNC" (Drawn Against Insufficient Funds — Try Next Clearing) considered negligent, much less be held liable for damages on
so they were redeposited on April 14, 1982, which was again account of the inadvertence of its bank employee as Article
dishonored for the following reason: "DAIF — TNC — NO 1173 of the Civil Code only requires it to exercise the diligence
ADVICE FROM CB." of a good pater familias.
The Roques went to Katigbak and the latter paid them in
P50,000 cash. As borne out by the records, the dishonoring of the
respondent's checks committed through negligence by the
While Katigbak was on a business-vacation trip, she received petitioner bank on April 6, 1982 was rectified only on April 15,
overseas phone calls from Mrs. San Juan informing her that a 1992 or nine (9) days after receipt of the credit memo. Clearly,
certain Mr. Dungo, Assistant Cashier of MBTC insisted on petitioner bank was remiss in its duty and obligation to treat
talking to Mrs. San Juan (Dungo thought she is Isabel private respondent's account with the highest degree of care,
Katigbak), berating her about the checks which bounced, considering the fiduciary nature of their relationship. The bank
saying "Nag-issue kayo ng tseke, wala namang pondo." is under obligation to treat the accounts of its depositors with
meticulous care, whether such account consists only of a few
Mrs. Katigbak asked Mrs. San Juan to request MBTC to check hundred pesos or of millions. It must bear the blame for failing
and verify the records regarding the CB credit memo for to discover the mistake of its employee despite the established
P304,000.00 but Mrs. San Juan received another insulting call procedure requiring bank papers to pass through bank
from Mr. Dungo ("Bakit kayo nag-issue ng tseke na wala personnel whose duty it is to check and countercheck them for
namang pondo, Three Hundred Thousand na.") When Mrs. possible errors. Responsibility arising from negligence in the
San Juan explained to him the need to verify the records performance of every kind of obligation is demandable. While
regarding the Central Bank memo, he merely brushed it aside, the bank's negligence may not have been attended with malice
telling her sarcastically that he was very sure that no such and bad faith, nevertheless, it caused serious anxiety,
credit memo existed. embarrassment and humiliation to private respondents for
which they are entitled to recover reasonable moral damages.
Subsequent events led to hospitalization of Katigbak for 2
days. It was established that when Mrs. Katigbak learned that her
checks were not being honored and Mr. Dungo repeatedly
MBTC also issued 4 debit memos representing service and made the insulting phone calls, her wounded feelings and the
penalty charges for the returned checks. mental anguish suffered by her caused her blood pressure to
rise beyond normal limits, necessitating medical attendance for
RBPG and Isabel Katigbak filed an action for damages against two (2) days at a hospital.
MBTC.
The damage to private respondents' reputation and social
It was established later that the reason why the CM did not standing entitles them to moral damages. Moral damages
reflect in RBPG’s account was due to the inadvertence and include physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious
mishandling of the messenger which resulted to the CM not anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral
being delivered to the department in charge of processing the shock, social humiliation and similar injury.
same; consequently, when MBTC received from the clearing
department the checks in question, the stated balance in The CA justified its deletion of temperate damages when
RBPG's account was only P5,498.58 which excluded the MBTC reasoned out that the amount of P50,000.00 is not part
unprocessed credit advice of P304,000.00 resulting in the of the relief prayed for in the complaint, aside from the fact that
dishonor of the aforementioned checks. the amount allegedly suffered by Mrs. Katigbak is susceptible
of proof.
MBTC also contends that the bank and its officers acted with
no deliberate intent on their part to cause injury or damage to
The carelessness of petitioner bank, aggravated by the lack of
promptness in repairing the error and the arrogant attitude of
the bank officer handling the matter, justifies the grant of moral
damages, which are clearly not excessive and unconscionable.

Moreover, considering the nature and extent of the services


rendered by private respondent's counsel, both in the trial and
appellate courts, the Court deems it just and equitable that
attorney's fees in the amount
presented in lieu thereof if they are not available, as in case of
G.R. No. 116181 April 17, 1996 loss, destruction or disappearance. The fact of payment may
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK, petitioner, be established not only by documentary evidence, but also by
vs. parol evidence
COURT OF APPEALS and CARMELO H.
FLORES, respondents. Here, the evidence presented by PNB (application form) has
no probative value because it did not show proof of payment.
The testimonies were also not given credence because they
FACTS: were self-serving and were given by bank employees involved
Flores, business man engaged in real estate, purchased from in the fiasco.
PNB 2 manager's checks worth P500,000.00 each, paying a
total of P1,000,040.00, including the service charge. A receipt ISSUE NO.2:
for said amount was issued by the petitioner. WHETHER THE AWARD FOR MORAL DAMAGES,
EXEMPLARY DAMAGES, AND ATTORNEY'S FEES, AS
On 12 July 1989, Flores presented these checks at the Baguio COMPARED TO THE ACTUAL CLAIM OF P100,000 IS
Hyatt Casino unit of PNB. However, PNB initially refused to DISPROPORTIONATE AND UNCONSCIONABLE. – YES
encash the checks but after a lengthy discussion, it agreed to
encash one 1 of the checks, and deferred the payment of the HELD NO.2:
other check. Flores tried to encash the chck on several Since there is no doubt as to the fact that the plaintiff
occasions, to no avail. purchased from the defendant bank 2 manager's check worth
P500,000.00 each as this was evidenced by an official receipt,
Left with no other choice, Flores filed a case with the RTC. then the existence of the manager's check created a fiduciary
relationship between the defendant bank and the plaintiff and
In its Answer, PNB claimed that only P900,000.00 and P40.00 therefore any breach thereof must be borne by the negligent
bank charges were actually paid by Flores when he purchased party. In this case, the money counter who, among her other
the 2 manager's checks worth P1,000,000.00. It alleged that duties, is in charge of counting the money received from a
due to Flores' "demanding attitude and temper," petitioner's client purchasing a manager's check did not perform her duty
money counter, Rowena Montes, who, at that time was still with diligence and due care. This may be gathered from her
new at her job, made an error in good faith in issuing the testimony that she did not wait for the counting machine to
receipt for P1,000,040.00. finish counting the money for the plaintiff is a VIP client and he
was in a hurry as he was tapping the window. Equally negligent
RTC ruled in favour of Flores: 100k-amount dishonoured; 1M- is Reynaldo Castor for not doing anything when he noticed that
moral; 1M-exemplary; 50k-attorneys fee; cost of suit. their money counters who entertained the plaintiff were rattled.
From these unfolded facts, the so-called honest mistake
CA – affirmed RTC decision. pleaded is therefore misplaced and perforced, defendant must
suffer the consequences of its own negligent acts.
ISSUE NO1:
WHETHER THE CA ERRED IN HOLDING THAT, THE BEST However, we give consideration to petitioner's allegation that
EVIDENCE TO SHOW WHETHER MR. FLORES PAID THE the award of P1,000,000.00 moral damages and
PNB CASINO UNIT P900,040 OR P1,000,040 IN P1,000,000.00 exemplary damages in addition to Flores' actual
PURCHASING THE TWO MANAGER'S CHECKS EACH claim of P100,000.00 is "inordinately disproportionate and
WORTH P500,000 IS THE RECEIPT FOR P1,000,040. - NO unconscionable."

HELD NO1: Under the circumstances obtaining in the case at bench, we


A "receipt" is defined as a written and signed acknowledgment rule that the award of moral and exemplary damages is
that money has been paid or goods have been delivered. A patently excessive and should be reduced to a reasonable
receipt is merely presumptive evidence and is not conclusive. A amount. We take into consideration the following factors:
written acknowledgment that money or a thing of value has
been received. Since a receipt is a mere acknowledgment of First, Flores' contention that he lost the opportunity to purchase
payment, it may be subject to explanation or contradiction. A a house and lot in Baguio City due to petitioner's gross
receipt may be used as evidence against one just as any other negligence is based solely on his own testimony and a mere
declaration or admission. A simple receipt not under seal is general statement at that. The broker he named during his
presumptive evidence only and may be rebutted or explained cross-examination on 10 July 1990, a Mr. Nick Buendia was
by other evidence of mistake in giving it, or of non-payment or not even presented to confirm the allegation
of the circumstances under which it was given.
Second, the award of moral damages in the amount of
Although a receipt is not conclusive evidence, in the case at P1,000,000.00 is obviously not proportionate to the actual
bench, an exhaustive review of the records fails to disclose any losses of P100,000.00 sustained by Flores. In RCPI
other evidence sufficient and strong enough to overturn the v. Rodriguez, we ruled that … where the awards of moral and
acknowledgment embodied in petitioner's own receipt (as to exemplary damages are far too excessive compared to the
the amount of money it actually received). actual losses sustained by the aggrieved party, this Court ruled
that they should be reduced to more reasonable amounts.
In Monfort v. Aguinaldo, the receipts of payment, although not
exclusive, were deemed to be the best evidence. The best In other words, the moral damages awarded must be
evidence for proving payment is by the evidence of receipts commensurate with the loss or injury suffered.
showing the same is also admitted. What respondents claim is
that there is no rule which provides that payment can only be Moral damages though incapable of pecuniary estimations, are
proved by receipts. While receipts are deemed to be the best in the category of an award designed to compensate the
evidence, they are not exclusive. Other evidence may be claimant for actual injury suffered and not to impose a penalty
on the wrongdoer; It is not intended to enrich a complainant at
the expense of the defendant.

However, the award of P1,000,000.00 exemplary damages is


also far too excessive and should likewise be reduced to an
equitable level.

ISSUE NO3:
WHETHER THE ACT OF ISSUANCE OF RECEIPT PROPER -
NO

HELD NO3:
Finally, we find petitioner's act of issuing the manager's checks
and corresponding receipt before payment thereof was
completely counted reckless and grossly negligent. It is an
appalling breach of bank procedures and must never be
repeated.

In Bautista v. Mangaldan Rural Bank, Inc., we stated that the


banking system has become an indispensable institution in the
modern world and plays a vital role in the economic life of
every civilized society. Whether as mere passive entities for the
safe-keeping and saving of money or as active instruments of
business and commerce, banks have attained an unbiquitous
presence among the people, who have come to regard them
with respect and even gratitude and, most of all, confidence.