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China Banking Corporation v.

CA (2006)

Facts:
1. The case stems from a complaint for a recovery of sums of money and annulment of sales of
real property and shares of stocks filed by Jose Gotianuy against his son-in-law George Dee and
his daughter Mary Margaret Dee.

2. Gotianuy accused his daughter of stealing his properties, US Dollar deposits with Citybank
amounting to P35M and $864,000. Margaret Dee obtained these amounts through checks issued
by Citybank naming her as a co-payee of Gotianuy. She allegedly deposited the checks with
petitioner bank. Gotianuy died during the pendency of the case and was substituted by his
daughter Elizabeth.

3. Subsequently, employees of China Bank were sent subpoena to testify re-bank deposits of
Margaret Dee but petitioner invoked RA 1405 (Bank Secrecy Law). The lower court held that the
disclosure of the name only of a depositor does not constitute a violation of RA 1405. The CA
affirms the lower court's decision.

Issue: Whether or not the petitioner can validly invoke the bank secrecy law to prevent the
disclosure. NO

HELD:
Jose Gotianuy is a co-payee of the checks deposited in China Bank hence, he is deemed also a
depositor. A depositor is one who pays money into the bank in the usual course of business to
be placed to his credit and subject to his check of the beneficiary of the funds held by the bank
as trustee. As such, no written consent from Margaret Dee is needed in order to inquire into the
said deposits. Moreover, there was no issue as to the real source of the funds since even
Marygaret Dee declared that Gotianuy was the source of the Citibank US Dollar checks. As the
owner of the funds unlawfully taken and now deposited with the petitioner bank, Gotianuy has
the right to inquire into the said deposit. Clearly, it was not the intention of the lawmakers to
perpetrate injustice when it enacted the Bank Secrecy Law or RA 1405.