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Serrano vs.

Central Bank

February 14, 1980; GR No. L-30511

Facts:

Petitioners Serrano (150k; 6% interest) and Maneja (200k; 6.5% interest) made 1 year time
deposits with the respondent Overseas Bank of Manila (OBM). Serrano and Maneja got
married. Consequently Maneja conveyed her deposits to Serrano. Despite Serrano’s demands
for the encasement of such deposits, none of the certificates of deposit was honored by the
respondent.

Consequently Serrano filed a petition for mandamus and prohibition, with preliminary injunction
against respondents. Serrano argued that respondent Central Bank failed in its duty to exercise
strict supervision over respondent OBM to protect depositors and the general public. He also
filed a petition for judgment based on the case of Emerito M. Ramos, et al. vs. Central Bank of
the Philippines, where the Supreme Court annulled and set aside CBP resolutions which
prohibited OBM to participate in clearing, direct the suspension of its operation, and ordering
its liquidation.

Respondent Central Bank of Philippines (CBP) argued that; 1) it does not have the duty to
exercise a most rigid and stringent supervision of banks; 2) it is not a guarantor of the
permanent solvency of any banking institution; that 3) there was no constructive trust created
in favor of Serrano and Maneja when their time deposits were made in 1966 and 1967 with
respondent OBM as during that time such bank was not insolvent and its operations as a
banking institution was being salvaged by the respondent CBP; and 4) that it had no
knowledge of petitioner’s claim that the properties given by respondent OBM as additional
collaterals to respondent CBP for former’s overdrafts and emergency loans were acquired
through the use of depositors’ money, including that of the petitioner and Maneja.

Issue:

WON the petitioner’s petition for mandamus and prohibition, with preliminary injunction against
respondent Banks will prosper.

Held:

No. The Supreme Court ruled that in reality the nature of the claims and cases of the petitioner
are recovery of time deposits plus interest from respondent OBM and revery of damages
against respondent CBP for its alleged failure in the performance of its duty to supervise all
banks.

These claims of these nature according to the court, are not proper in actions for mandamus
and prohibition as there is no shown clear abuse of discretion by the Central Bank in its
exercise of supervision over the other respondent Overseas Bank of Manila, and if there was,
petitioner here is not the proper party to raise that question, but rather the Overseas Bank of
Manila.

Finally, the Supreme Court explained that Bank deposits are in the nature of irregular deposits. 
They are really loans because they earn interest.  All kinds of bank deposits, whether fixed,
savings, or current are to be treated as loans and are to be covered by the law on loans.
Current and savings deposits are loans to a bank because it can use the same.  The petitioner
here in making time deposits that earn interests with respondent Overseas Bank of Manila was
in reality a creditor of the respondent Bank and not a depositor.  The respondent Bank was in
turn a debtor of petitioner.  Failure of the respondent Bank to honor the time deposit is failure
to pay its obligation as a debtor and not a breach of trust arising from a depositary's failure to
return the subject matter of the deposit.

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